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Norwegian boosts third-quarter operating profit 64%

Norwegian has reported a 64% rise in third quarter operating profit, to NKr2.97 billion ($326 million), after slowing capacity growth in the period.

Revenue was up 8% at NKr14.4 billion, primarily thanks to the airline's intercontinental flights. Passenger numbers declined 3% to 10.5 million.

The airline increased capacity by just 3%, compared with 8% during the third quarter of 2018 and a 48% hike during last year's second quarter.

"Norwegian's key priority is returning to profitability through a series of measures, including an optimised route and base portfolio and an extensive cost-reduction programme," the airline says.

Its year-to-date operating profit stands at NKr2.13 billion, compared with a loss of NKr258 million across the same period last year

The cost-reduction programme, dubbed '#Focus2019', is running at "full force" and delivered savings worth NKr827 million during the third quarter, says Norwegian.

For the full year, it targets NKr2.3 billion in savings.

"We are delivering on our strategy of moving from growth to profitability," states acting chief executive and finance chief Geir Karlsen.

Despite "operational issues outside of our control", the airline has delivered "record-high" earnings and operating revenue while reducing unit cost, he notes.

Norwegian's fleet of 145 aircraft across its various divisions includes 18 Boeing 737 Max jets in storage, Cirium fleets data shows. Additionally, five of its 24 Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered 787 long-haul jets are in storage.

The carrier notes that the USA represents its largest market in revenue terms, followed by Norway, Spain and the UK.

In 2018, Norwegian generated a full-year operating loss of NKr3.85 billion.

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