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Norwegian completes restructuring and secures state aid

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It should be seen as a positive step forward, but for thousands of staff who lost their jobs there is still a lot of uncertainty over future roles.

Airline Norwegian has confirmed that a restructuring plan they undertook has now completed and that the state loan guarantee of in total NOK 3 billion (£245M) has been approved. The company has now converted NOK 12.7 billion (£1.03B) of debt to equity and laid a solid foundation for the future, although the next months will remain challenging.

CEO Jacob Schram said:

“I want to thank everyone who has supported the company during this unprecedented crisis that has affected the entire the airline industry: The Government and Parliament; customers; employees: shareholders; leasing companies; creditors; bondholders, the travel industry and other Norwegian supporters.

Now that we can access the state loan guarantee, we can continue to transform the company. Through this process, the belief in New Norwegian and the company’s strategy have been confirmed by shareholders, the market, bondholders, leasing companies, other creditors and lenders. Nevertheless, the months ahead will remain challenging and with a high degree of uncertainty for the industry. Norwegian will still need to collaborate closely with a number of creditors as the company currently has limited revenue.”.

Since the end of 2018, Norwegian has taken significant actions to restructure its operations and return to profitability. The company was on the path to deliver a positive net profit in 2020, and this summer was set to be the strongest in the company’s history. Instead, the coronavirus outbreak and global travel restrictions has led to a substantial drop in demand.

The Company has seized this time as an opportunity to restructure and develop a new strategy and business plan – New Norwegian – for a strengthened airline to re-emerge when travel restrictions are lifted and demand returns.

Schram added:

“In addition to securing that the company survives this crisis, our goal has been that Norwegian should have a strong position in the future airline industry, with a clear direction and strategy. This will ensure sustainable operations and a structure that will be to the benefit of both shareholders, customers and colleagues.”

Coronavirus

COVID-19 vaccination centre opens in Crawley

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Residents across West Sussex can now receive their COVID-19 immunisations at a new vaccination centre in Crawley.

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) has today (1 February) opened the appointment only facility at Crawley Hospital in West Green Drive.

The service is by appointment only with vaccinations delivered by teams from SCFT.

Residents who are eligible for vaccinations and who live within a 60 mile radius of Crawley Hospital are being written to directly by the NHS and invited to book an appointment.

This vaccination centre follows the opening of the Brighton Centre last week and is in addition to the local GP-led vaccination services that now cover all patients in Sussex, and select pharmacy-led services that are also available through the national booking system.

Siobhan Melia, Chief Executive of Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“I’m delighted we are able to open Crawley Hospital as a vaccination centre today for residents across West Sussex and want to pay tribute to all teams from SCFT who have been involved in making this happen.

“The opening of Crawley Hospital today follows the successful launch of the vaccination centre at the Brighton Centre last week, and is all part of making the COVID-19 vaccination as accessible as possible to the communities we serve.”

Vaccination centres are another part of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, working alongside GP-led vaccination services, specific pharmacies and hospital hubs.

While GPs invite their patients to get vaccinated at their local vaccination service, appointments at the vaccination centres are made through the national booking service.

The national booking service writes to eligible people, living within 60 miles of a vaccination centre, inviting them to book an appointment at the centre online or over the phone. The letter contains all the details people will need to book their appointment.

Anyone receiving a letter from the national booking service can choose whether to book an appointment at the vaccination centre, or wait until they are contacted by their GP for an appointment at their local vaccination service if that would be more convenient.

There are more than 1,000 GP services and more than 250 hospital sites now offering vaccinations in England.

Donna Lamb, Chief Nurse at SCFT, said:

“We are so proud to be able to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme across Sussex.

“Our trained vaccinators, supported by amazing volunteers, are on hand to help patients who attend our centres and we look forward to vaccinating many more people in the coming weeks which will make a huge difference to the communities we serve.

“I would encourage anyone who is invited for a vaccination to take up the offer.”

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