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Norwegian Air files for bankruptcy amid COVID-19 economic fallout

Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Low-cost airline Norwegian Air filed for bankruptcy Wednesday in Ireland citing financial instability due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The carrier said it's filed for examinership in an attempt to restructure its business, reduce debt and secure new capital. It's a similar process to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States.

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Norwegian Air said it plans to continue to operate its routes, which have been downsized due to reduced travel -- particularly international travel -- since the start of the pandemic. The company's shares also will continue to be traded on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

"Seeking protection to reorganize under Irish law is a decision that we have taken to secure the future of Norwegian for the benefit of our employees, customers and investors," Norwegian CEO Jacob Schram said. "Our aim is to find solutions with our stakeholders that will allow us to emerge as a financially stronger and secure airline.

"Our intent is clear. We will emerge from this process as a more financially secure and competitive airline, with a new financial structure, a rightsized fleet and improved customer offering."

The company said it chose to file for bankruptcy in Ireland because that's where its fleet is held.

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Airlines worldwide have had to slash routes, jobs and assets over the past several months in reaction to the pandemic, which has led to some countries closing their borders to non-essential travel.

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