Norwegian (DY, Oslo Gardermoen) has told staff in Spain that it intends to initiate a collective dismissal procedure in the coming days for 1,191 workers, 85% of its total workforce in the country, and will close three of its five bases there.

According to a statement the Unión Sindical Obrera (USO) issued on May 3, and later confirmed by the company, the airline - which is still slashing costs as part of a plan to emerge from bankruptcy protection in Ireland and Norway by the end of May - will close its bases at Barcelona El Prat, ​​Las Palmas, and Tenerife Sur and will maintain those at Alicante and Malaga with one aircraft at each during this year.

“This would imply the definitive cessation of the long-haul operations carried out from Barcelona ​​as well as a brutal cut-back in short-haul operations,” USO said.

“Within this context, Norwegian continues its growth in Denmark and Finland, countries where it has initiated pilot recruitment processes and with whom it intends to carry out flights and therefore Spanish production,” the union protested.

It added that both it and the pilots’ union SEPLA would negotiate for the maximum number of jobs for crews based in Spain to be maintained.

In a statement to local media, Norwegian said that the layoffs are “a consequence of the cessation of the company’s long-haul operations and the downsizing of its short-haul operations. It is a restructuring process that Norwegian has carried out in each and every one of the markets where it had operations: the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, and France.”

Looking ahead, the airline estimated that “for summer 2022 and, under the scenario of six aircraft based in Spain (three in Alicante and another in Malaga), it will need crew members in the region of 215 personnel, including pilots and cabin crew.”

It concluded that “the final number of people employed may end up being higher, depending on what can be agreed with the unions regarding types of contracts and reductions in working hours, among other elements.”

The closure of El Prat means that routes operating from Barcelona to Chicago O'Hare, Los Angeles Int'l, Miami Int'l, New York JFK, and San Francisco, CA will not resume. Norwegian currently has about 485 staff to cover long-haul services from El Prat hired by Norwegian Air Resources Spain, a wholly-owned subsidiary which, as previously reported, applied for protection from creditors in late December 2020.