The low-cost airline becomes the aviation industry’s largest casualty of the pandemic.
Norwegian said late on Wednesday that two of its main subsidiaries would file for examinership in Ireland, a reorganisation process akin to filing for Chapter 11 in the US.
The airline said it would use the reorganisation to cut its vast debt pile, offload aircraft, and raise new capital in a process expected to take up to five months.
The airline said it believed it had enough cash to get through examinership, an Irish process that allows companies 100 days of protection from creditors to put together a rescue plan, subject to High Court approval.
Founded in 1992 by an ex-fighter pilot, Bjorn Kjos, Norwegian turned into a rival of Ryanair and easyJet in the past two decades as it expanded from its Nordic base into low-cost travel in Europe and then flights to the US and Asia as well.
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