European carrier Norwegian Air reported higher-than-expected profits but remains measured in its forecasts for the remainder of the year.
Norwegian Air reported third-quarter profit above expectations on Thursday and said current ticket sales were “slightly reduced” going into the usual winter travel lull.
July-September profit before interest, tax, depreciation (EBIT) rose to 2.17 billion crowns ($195.06 million) from 1.03 billion in the year-ago period, above the 2.02 billion seen by analysts in a company-provided consensus poll.
The third quarter spans much of the key holiday travel season in Europe when Norwegian Air makes a large portion of its annual profits.
“While many consumers are impacted by the current high inflation and interest rates, our customers continue to prioritize air travel,” CEO Geir Karlsen said in a statement.
“Current ticket sales are slightly reduced as expected in accordance with seasonality,” he added.
Norwegian said its nine-month EBIT stood at 1.97 billion crowns and predicted a full-year result of between 1.8 billion and 2.0 billion crowns.
Booking momentum for the fourth quarter was “encouraging” both for leisure and business travel, while visibility for the first quarter of 2024 and beyond remained limited, Norwegian said.
For the fourth quarter of 2023 and first quarter of 2024, the company predicted a low single-digit percentage capacity growth year-on-year, while the second quarter of 2024 would see capacity growth of between 15% and 20%.
For the summer of 2024, Norwegian plans to increase its fleet to approximately 90 aircraft from 85 at the end of the third quarter, the carrier announced.
Norwegian Air’s share price has risen 11% year-to-date.
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($1 = 11.1245 Norwegian crowns)
Reporting by Victoria Klesty, editing by Terje Solsvik
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