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For illustrative purposes only. January 3, The report also cited rising interest rates dampening market liquidity while increasing the cost of debt refinancing and aircraft leases. Oil prices are expected to settle, and any further gradual increases in oil prices are expected to be compensated by rising airfares and fees. The most significant risks for airlines are geopolitical.
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Potential downside scenarios include a crisis in the Middle East or other disruptions in oil, causing oil prices to spike. The possibility of trade wars and uncertainty surrounding the Brexit withdrawal agreement represent additional sources of potential disruption or weakening in travel demand. Although Norwegian has so far dismissed any notion of financial distress as speculation, it has simultaneously implemented a series of changes to prevent further turbulence. This is in sharp contrast to other European budget carriers, which are often ranked among the best in the industry.
Figure 2: January 3, Note: Norwegian has undergone a rapid expansion in recent years, introducing new routes and flying over longer distances. Between and , the carrier quadrupled its fleet from 40 to planes.
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However, unlike its low-cost rivals, Norwegian ventured into budget long-haul flights. After establishing its new base at London Gatwick, it started operating services to the U.
However, to be able to support this rapid growth, Norwegian accumulated a significant amount of debt and highly increased its financial leverage. This rising debt is putting Norwegian under pressure to secure enough liquidity to repay maturing debt obligations. Figure 3: All figures are converted into U.
Figures for are estimated based on annualized YTD figures. Operational performance, measured as unit revenue passenger revenue per ASK and yield passenger revenue per RPK , have been slipping continuously since , as depicted in Figure 4. Negative free operating cash flow required Norwegian to continuously find new sources of capital to finance its operations, and profitability suffered.
The carrier was able to ride a tailwind of low oil prices and cheap financing for a while, however, the winds seem to be turning. Figure 4: Gravitational Pull Slipping operational and financial performance. While growing its top line, the carrier has been unable to convert increased capacity and traffic into consistent profit.
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With a stable industry outlook and cost-cutting measures in place, Norwegian lives to fly another day. While the year has just begun, and bankers said it is too soon to extrapolate full-year loan volume, bank appetite to lend is plentiful.
The Affordable Care Act, the federal medical insurance marketplace, known as Obamacare, remains in place despite Trump administration efforts to have it overturned, adding pressure for the sector to streamline and gain efficiencies. To cut upfront costs, larger companies are also looking to buy smaller firms with specialties including oncology, immunology and cardiovascular health, as a way of outsourcing research and development, analysts and lawyers said.
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