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Founder and CEO of airline Norwegian resigns – what happens now?

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Bjorn Kjos, the founder and major shareholder in Norwegian, stood down as CEO yesterday after 17 years.  He is being replaced on an interim basis by the CFO, Geir Karlson.

There is an interesting barb directed at Kjos in the final line of the statement issued:

“Bjorn has played an unprecedented role in Norwegian’s success. His vision of offering affordable fares for all, combined with his enthusiasm and innovating spirit, has revolutionized the way people travel for pleasure and for business, not least between the continents. Bjorn is definitely one of the most influential European entrepreneurs of our time.”

Norwegian CEO resigns

“We have to ensure that Norwegian is well prepared and positioned to handle volatile markets and unexpected events. It is crucial that we continue to deliver on our cost reduction initiatives and that we constantly ensure that we have a route portfolio that yields profit. It is also important that the new CEO develops an organization that embraces continued improvement and operational excellence.”

Norwegian was given a financial lifeline back in January when Norwegian shipping tycoon John Fredriksen (who, fact fans, owns the house with the biggest private garden in London after the Queen – it is just off Kings Road) backed a NOK 3 billion rights issue.

Fredriksen did not do this out of charity, however.  We have seen Norwegian taking a more aggressive approach to its network, including cancelling the London Gatwick to Las Vegas service and asking cabin crew to take unpaid leave.  His hand is also likely to be behind the departure of Kjos.  With the low-yield Winter season getting closer, the airline needs to make sure it is well prepared.

Comments (161)

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  • Alex says:

    Doesn’t QR fly direct from Doha to Chiang Mai?

    • BJ says:

      Yes, and also direct to Babgkok, Utapao, Krabi and Phuket.

      • BJ says:

        Correction: I just checked the schedules and see that QR is no longer offering direct flights from DOH to CNX, KBV and UTP. I am not sure if this is permanent or if they will return for high season.

      • marcw says:

        I believe they’ve stopped flying to Utapao. Chiang Mai and Krabi should be back for the winter season.

  • Chris Cannon says:

    Could you bin the last leg and get off at Bangkok ?

    • ChrisC says:

      You could but then then your return flights home would be cancelled and what would you do then?

    • Rob says:

      No, as your return flight would be cancelled. You could if you booked a one way but the price will be crazy.

    • George says:

      Book a cheap return from Chang Mai to Bangkok if you can be bothered with the hassle.

      • BJ says:

        Or even the train or VIP bus for a good travelling experience. Daytime and overnight options are available.

        • Polly says:

          We have done the bus the reverse way fromBangkok up north. All day journey, but stops at local joints en route, eat with locals etc. Also from Chang, you can fly easily to any of the islands in an hour or so. So a very good to route to look at, l think.
          We have arn to hkt in Feb. But if we hadn’t, l would be cancelling our F 241 to KUL for that flight price. Especially as Prague is so easy to get to. And have a couple of nights there too. So pretty.

          BJ, have to ask, did you used to post under a different name at one point???

          • BJ says:

            @Polly, James67. I have not tried them yet myself but I’m guessing Genghis might be referring to the new Chinese sleeper trains that came into service about 3 or 4 years ago. Reportedly they’re excellent with the recommendation being to take the nightime departure from Bangkok and awake at sunrise for the journey up into the mountains.

        • Genghis says:

          The train was v civilised when I did it quite a few years ago now.

          • Polly says:

            Yes, next time we go, we will take the train.. a bit older now!

        • Polly says:

          You will be surprised when l tell you at the party, l said to Cat and LL, l thought you were originally James67 by your posts! Can’t believe that coincidence.
          Glad you are around to discuss Thailand/Asia with!

    • David French says:

      You can also fly from Sweden for £1367 to Chang Mai, or £1337 to Bangkok

  • Stu R says:

    Trying to work out how this is 4 flights? If this is because you’re counting getting to Prague as one flight, this demonstrates once again how London-centric HFP is …. those of us in Scotland would possibly need to take 2 flights to Prague?

    [rolls eyes]

    • BJ says:

      The reference to 4 flights was in respect to flights required on BA to qualify for silver. Besides there are ample direct flights from Scotland to Prague making it no different from London insofar as this offer is concerned. I don’t feel that HFP is London-centric at all except perhaps with respect to the parties but that may be ok too unless 50%+ of readers were north of Watford in which case a more northerly location would be fairer.

      • Anna says:

        No, the 4 flights are originating airport-Prague-Doha-Bangkok-Chiang Mai, which does sound rather tortuous!
        I’m a northerner but think HFP is only London-centric because it’s overwhelmingly where BA flies from!

      • BrianDT says:

        I wonder why these people even bother to subscribe….always upset and moaning.

    • tony says:

      Shocking indeed. I’d ask for – in fact DEMAND – a refund of your subscription.

      There are nonstop flights to PRG from both EDI and GLA, so that’s 70% of the Scottish population covered.

      The real clanger in the article is the fact that as noted upthread, QR fly nonstop from DOH to CNX in a 787. It should also be pointed out that QR sometimes use an A320 on the PRG rotation.

    • Jake Mc says:

      Stu R: clearly you spent too long rolling your eyes and not reading…. or researching 😂😂😂

      You can get to Prague from non stop from:
      East Midlands
      Leeds Bradford
      London City
      London Gatwick
      London Heathrow
      London Luton
      London Stansted
      London Southend

      Is that enough airports to consider HFP non “London centric”

      • Craig says:

        Belfast too.

        • David says:

          Yeah guys, don’t be so Great Britain centric…

          • Lady London says:

            And remember QR also flies from Cardiff to all their destinations, still via Doha of course.

      • Stu_N says:

        QR fly from Edinburgh as well, but the deal is ex-Prague.. As others have said, Prague is probably one of the easiest places to get from the regional airports due to holiday flights.

      • Jb says:

        Just goes to show HFP is far too London-Midlands-West Country-North England-Scotland-Welish centric.
        Always ignoring Southampton 😡 and rarely a mention of East Anglia…

    • Kev Mac says:


      Boo hoo. It’s so unfair etc. Pathetic.

    • Nick says:

      How hard are you trying?

  • Simon says:

    O/T regarding the 40% Avios bonus for Tesco Clubcard conversions for ex Shell Drivers Club Members who converted to Avios, mentioned in the comments yesterday. I haven’t received an email so wondering whether this is a targetted offer. Is there a requirement to verify ex membership of Drivers Club when redeeming the points?

    • Shoestring says:

      it’s not targeted but there are elibility criteria
      [Offer Terms and Conditions
      This promotion is only open to Eligible Participants. An Eligible Participant is a person aged 18 or over and is a British Airways Executive Club (“BAEC”) Member (membership Terms and Conditions apply).
      By taking part in this promotion, Eligible Participants confirm that they accept these Terms and Conditions.
      To qualify for the 40% bonus Avios the Eligible Participant will need to have collected Avios with Shell Drivers Club in the last thirty-six months.
      From 11 July 2019 any Tesco Clubcard points converted to Avios in your Tesco Clubcard account by midnight on 31 December 2019 will qualify for 40% bonus Avios. Any points earned after this date will not qualify for the 40% bonus.]

      • Simon says:

        So in theory Tesco should be cross referencing redemptions against a database of ex Drivers Club members and awarding the bonuses that way?

        • Shoestring says:

          that’s what they say & no doubt it’s true, though I might ask: did Shell drivers formerly getting Avios actually give Tesco permission to retain their data for this usage under GDPR?

          • Simon says:

            That’s what I was thinking. How did they legally share the data?

          • Rob says:

            BA has contacted people with Shell activity on their accounts.

          • Simon says:

            Thinking about it I guess BAEC will be the ones with this info. Looks like its time to give my Rocket Pack points a rocket boost.

          • Grant says:

            I’ve had my Shell points autoconverting to Avios for a long time, but I’ve not had an email about the 40% bonus offer.

          • Rob says:

   or BA?

          • Lev441 says:

            @grant – likewise, and looking through my shell drivers club statement isn’t the most informative – but I think the last time I filled up at shell petrol stations was during December 2016 when they were doing a promo to give away points so I’m sure I’d be eligible..

          • Rob says:

            When did you last convert to BA? That is what Clause 3 means. BA does not have any data on your general collecting habits at Shell.

          • Grant says:

            My BAEC statement shows last Shell points deposited in my account in May 2019.

          • Simon says:

            I have recent Shell activity (December and May) on my BAEC account but no email.

          • Lady London says:

            Is ANYONE here actually going to stay with Shell now the new scheme is so useless?

      • LewisB says:

        I’ve not had a car in a few years, so no 40% bonus for me. Damnit.

        • Shoestring says:

          my wife & I both converted £2.50 yesterday to test if we get the 40% bonus anyway – only problem being you have to wait a month for the bonus!

          If Virgin do a 20% bonus I’ll maybe wait the month if parameters allow (just to see about that 40%) then go for that instead

          • LewisB says:

            I was hoping for a Virgin bonus personally too, but I’d take a 40% avios if I was eligible. Did you see that at Odeon you can now earn 10 avios per £1 spent IN STORE ONLY when you register your card to Aer Lingus? Great offer!

          • Simon says:

            I’ve done a £3 test too. We have till the end of the year so plenty of time. I was banking on a 20% Virgin bonus too but with a higher Avios bonus I’ll take the Avios.

      • Grimz says:

        I have a transaction on my BA ex club saying ‘Shell pluspoints conversion’ in February 17. Do folk think that would qualify me for this bonus?

    • Navara says:

      All four of our Household account members have converted From Shell to BA for years and we have had no emails.

  • Crafty says:

    The status match “matched” me from Hilton Diamond to IHG Platinum… Which I already had.

    Waste of time.

    • BJ says:

      Ogg, I got Diamond to Spire but I had 5 Hilton stays in previous month which might have helped. It might be that they ran out of their Spire quite before your request was processed. I doubt your missing much, they failed to recognise my Spire status at all on my first stay after match. Tonight I’m staying at a CP with lounge, I booked cheapest room and intentionally left of breakfast despite it being under £5 each…let’s see what happens 🙂

      • BJ says:

        Huh, I’ve no idea where “Ogg” came from!

      • xcalx says:

        I am booked into a local HI tonight (accelerate target) Wakefield M1 jnt 40 states on hotel page breakfast is on us for Friday stays. Booked the cheapest room £30 asked if I wanted breakfast at £14.?? declined so will see what happens. Nice Thia restaurant within 0.5 miles.

    • Lady London says:

      @crafty Why not contact them, explain politely and ask if a match to Spire is possible?

      Obviously this will motivate you to keep booking Ihg hotels as it would be annoying to have to book elsewhere for the match period.

  • Cal says:

    Slightly related OT

    I am staying at the IC Le Grand Paris in August for one night. Only IHG Gold at the moment, so is it worth getting Ambassador for $200? I will apply for the premium IHG card at some point so I don’t rate the Platinum status too highly.

    • BJ says:

      Depends if you want it for future stays too, no if for this stay alone.

    • Lyn says:

      Agree with BJ, yes if for future stays as well. If just one stay for now, consider booking your one night through Emyr Thomas, at basically the non-refundable rate. This should give you the same room upgrade as Ambassador as well as access to the Club Lounge. Hope you enjoy the Le Grand.

    • Leo says:

      You will still have to pay for the lounge on top. It’s a lower price for an Ambassador but still about £120 per room. You will get a slightly bigger room. And as others say – depends if you have other stays planned. After several years I’ve just let mine lapse as I’ve no travel plans involving an IC this year.

    • Rob says:

      Yes if you want 4pm check out. Room upgrade also worth it as base rooms are small. If you don’t need 4pm, less worthwhile.

      However, better idea – book for cash via Emyr. You get free Club access (saving Euro 150 per day, or Euro 45 per person vs buying breakfast for cash) with their all-day free flowing champagne and an upgrade AT TIME OF BOOKING.

      • Cal says:

        I should have said, it is already booked through the free night from the Principal 2 night offer.

        I will probably have an award stay at an IC for 3 nights using the Ambassador weekend free night and a points night. So would that be enough for it to be valuable?

  • Shoestring says:

    Roll on 7am – customarily existing shareholders get wiped out – but Fosun is a big existing shareholder!

    • Shoestring says:

      [TCG] is targeting an injection of £750 million of new money which would provide sufficient liquidity to trade over the Winter 2019/20 season and the financial flexibility to invest in the business for the future. At completion, the new money would comprise a capital injection and new financing facilities.

      The recapitalisation proposal will require a reorganisation of the ownership of the Tour Operator and Airline businesses which is expected to result in Fosun owning a significant controlling stake in the Group Tour Operator and a significant minority interest in the Group Airline. The proposal envisages that a significant amount of the Group’s external bank and bond debt will be converted into equity, to be agreed following discussions with financial creditors. The Group’s core lending banks are supportive of a recapitalisation and are engaged in constructive discussions with the Group to agree terms. The proposed recapitalisation will not impact trade creditors.

      Existing shareholders will be significantly diluted as part of the recapitalisation. However, shareholders may be given the opportunity to participate in the recapitalisation by way of investment alongside Fosun and converting financial creditors on terms to be agreed.

  • The Jetset Boyz says:

    A new CEO might be more willing than Mr Kjos to consider a takeover approach from IAG. But let’s not forget that Bjorn Kjos will remain a powerful influence within the company, both through the shareholding of his company HBK Holding, but also through his new role as an adviser.

    • Rob says:

      You’re just making jokes now.

      In my banking days, when our divisional CEO was kicked out due to a staff revolt after we discovered he was, in effect, embezzling the bonus pool (claiming it was smaller than it was and awarding himself the spare), we put out a press release saying he was remaining an ‘adviser’. In reality the only contact we ever had going forwards was from his lawyers demanding cuts of future profits – which, of course, he got, because that is banking for you.

      • Lady London says:

        Haha a familiar story repeated so many ways in the City.

        The good thing about the City though is that apparently such a high share of profits is paid out to employees, far ahead of other industries. One report I read (although old) said the industry average for investment banking was 40%.

        • Stu_N says:

          Yep. “X will retain an advisory role” is even further out the door than “X will be working on strategic projects, reporting directly to the Chairman”.

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