Norwegian mulls leaving CPH Airport as mass delays continue

Christian Wenande
May 16th, 2023

With no resolution to the air traffic controller strike in sight, the summer could end up being a disaster for Danish aviation

Norwegian is concerned as the busy summer season approaches (photo: Pixabay/hpgruesen)

Thursday is a national holiday, and it’s not uncommon for people in Denmark to take the Friday off and have a long weekend to travel abroad. 

Almost 80,000 passengers are expected to travel through Copenhagen Airport on Thursday and 90,000 are predicted to hit the airport on Sunday.

But travellers can expect ‘turbulence’ due to the ongoing air traffic controller strike that delayed about 1 million passengers in April alone. 

A report from the airport last week confirmed that 45 percent of all flights in April were delayed by at least 15 minutes, while 400 flights were cancelled – affecting some 60,000 passengers.

READ ALSO: CPH Airport among top airports for curbing carbon emissions

Norwegian looking elsewhere
Norwegian, which is only second to SAS in terms of the number of flights operated out of Copenhagen Airport, has run out of patience with the busy summer season on the horizon.

The airline has announced it has started exploring the possibility of moving flights away from Copenhagen Airport as a result of the many delays and cancellations.

“We need to look at alternative airports that are close to Copenhagen Airport,” Geir Karlsen, the head of Norwegian, said according to Ritzau.

“If it’s possible at such short notice, I don’t know. But the conflict gives rise to growing concerns that will be further exacerbated as capacity increases over the summer season.”

READ ALSO: Delays galore at Copenhagen Airport over lack of air traffic controllers 

A dire summer on horizon
The airline called for the Danish government to step in and help solve the conflict involving the air traffic controllers.

Dansk Industri (DI) has encouraged the transport minister to step in to prevent a “nightmare summer” scenario.

So far, however, the politicians have declined to get involved.

The conflict started after the air traffic controllers refused to take extra shifts following months of overtime due to a shortage of staff.

That plunged state-owned Naviair and air traffic controller union DATCA into a conflict, with the air traffic controllers demanding 40 percent more in pay to take additional extra shifts.

The air traffic controllers contend that Naviair is to blame for the current state of affairs because it cut costs during the COVID-19 pandemic by dismissing 50 air traffic controllers. 


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