Regional airline Widerøe cuts flights in northern Norway

Demand on many routes in Northern Norway has dropped sharply because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Passengers board a Widerøe Dash-8 at the Tromsø airport bound for Finnmark. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)

Widerøe, Norway’s third largest airline and the largest regional airline in the Nordic nations, says it will reduce routes from Tromsø to Kirkenes, Vadsø and Skagen by October 1 as the demand for air travel has dropped dramatically amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bodø-based airline’s commercial flights to destinations in remote Norway have been a struggling business for several years and the coronavirus pandemic has caused a sharp drop in demand for tickets, making the business even worse, it said.

Since the outbreak hit Norway in March, Widerøe’s revenues for sale of tickets has dropped by 650 million kroner (€61 million). The Norwegian government’s tax relief measure s aimed at helping the airline industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic end by October 31, and Widerøe says in a press release there are no other options than cutting flights on routes where demand is low.

For the northern regions of Norway, this means cutting one daily flight from Tromsø to Kirkenes, one daily flight Tromsø to Vadsø and the direct flight from Skagen (Stokmarknes) to Tromsø.

Also other routes on the southwest coast of Norway will be affected.