Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos has dismissed claims he could sell the carrier amid interest from International Airlines Group (IAG). The conglomerate, which already owns Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling, revealed on April 12 it had acquired a 4.61% stake in the Oslo-based operator.
A statement issued by IAG’s chief financial officer Enrique Dupuy de Lôme noted: “The minority investment is intended to establish a position from which to initiate discussions with Norwegian, including the possibility of a full offer for Norwegian.” He also confirmed that “no such discussions have taken place to date, that [IAG] has taken no decision to make an offer at this time and that there is no certainty that any such decision will be made.”
Responding to IAG’s announcement, Kjos said he “had not envisaged any sale. I have to underline that we have had a lot of approaches from different airlines.” Norwegian had earlier claimed it had “no prior knowledge” of IAG’s acquisition and “had not been in any discussions or dialogue with IAG about the matter.” The carrier added that “interest from one of the largest international aviation groups demonstrates the sustainability and potential of our business model and global growth.”
Details of IAG’s acquisition comes barely two months after Norwegian posted net losses of more than £27m for the year. The performance, which the airline attributed to “significant costs related to increased fuel prices, wet lease and passenger care” increased total debts by 5% to more than £2bn.