Widerøe cancels 100 flights this month nationwide

Widerøe planeWiderøe plane.Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB scanpix

Acute lack of staff has led Widerøe to cancel flights across the country this summer. The Ministry of Transport is threatening to cut support.

 

‘Widerøe cancelled scheduled flights all over the country because they had fewer pilots than they’d forecasted’, wrote Helgeland’s magazine.

Director of Communications and Social Affairs at Widerøe, Silje Brandvoll, told NTB news agency that approximately 100 departures will be cancelled in July alone.


‘An overview is difficult to provide, as it varies from day to day,’ said Brandvoll.


Customers receive alternative flights

Brandvoll gave an assurance that customers would be contacted at least two weeks before flying, and offered alternative routes or departures. The plans are still not fully laid out, so Widerøe customers who aren’t yet contacted will receive a call from the company in the near future.


‘We are working on a continuous basi,s and as the cancellations are made, passengers are contacted. They can be confident they’ll be notified if their flights are affected.’ she said.


Brandvoll added that they primarily cancel departures with few passengers.


Lack of pilots

The reason for Widerøe cancelling flights is that they lack pilots. Several have quit, or more have bgun working part-time than the company had expected.


‘Unfortunately, we have had more pilots leaving the company, or taking due leave than usual this spring. Therefore, we are forced to cut flights,’ said Brandvoll to NTB.


In the autumn, the company will change its route program to cut some commercial routes. Brandvoll doesn’t rule out that the company may have been overloaded with multiple route extensions.


‘We had planned too many flight for what we had capacity to provide,’ she said.

Transport Ministry follows developments

The Ministry of Transport, who are contracted with Widerøe on individual routes, is following the situation closely.

‘We’ve imposed strict requirements for regularity in the contract, and believe that the threat of withholding subsidies is a heavy concern for the company when it makes priorities,’ said Tor Midtbø, press officer at the ministry.


Brandvoll told Helgeland’s magazine that the airline ‘expect to be within the regularity requirements that the Ministry of Transport and Communications has set for the year as a whole.’

 

© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today

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