As one of Norway’s greatest exports, A-ha, put it, in their classic 1980s hit Take on Me, it’s no better to be safe than sorry. This advice may appear ever more overwhelmingly wrong to those who bet their kroner on the vision of the two Bjorns, Kjos and Kise, the co-founders turned chief executive and chairman of Norwegian Air.
The pair wisely exited the scene last year after an extraordinary ride during which they turned Norwegian from a small local carrier into a global pioneer of low-cost, long-haul air travel, and eventually established bases all around Europe. With half an eye on transatlantic links and another on a booming short-haul operation, Norwegian became a dizzying array of subsidiaries whose complexity could not disguise the fact that it was heading for financial disaster.
Although Norwegian had started to streamline and argues that it was on its way back from the brink prior to coronavirus, the pandemic may yet allow it to unexpectedly survive. However, the terms of that survival may be little consolation to investors, who face the choice of salvaging crumbs or waving goodbye to it all.
The Bjorns even launched in Argentina, which is the most insane idea since Fitzcarraldo hauled a steamship over a mountain