Norwegian, the struggling European airline that offered cut price transatlantic flights, says a cull of routes will result in the loss of 1,100 jobs at Gatwick airport.
The company, which has been battling high costs associated with a rapid expansion exacerbated by the impact of massive COVID-19 disruption to international travel, said it was to operate as a short-haul airline only in future.
It also confirmed it was going cap-in-hand to the Norwegian government for financial aid.
The loss of its pilots and crew based at Gatwick account for just over half the jobs it plans to cut across its network.
The company said insolvency proceedings had begun at Norwegian Air Resources UK Limited and it expected specialists at KPMG to be appointed to help those hit, including 300 pilots, submit claims for back pay and redundancy.
Staff were told: “We fully understand that this news will create both personal stress and challenges during this difficult time and would personally want to thank each one of you for your tireless dedication and contribution to Norwegian over the years.”
Norwegian promised that customers whose bookings would be affected by the shake-up would receive full refunds.
Sky News was seeking clarification on the full list of routes affected by the world-wide cuts.
The company, which has grounded almost all its 138 planes since pandemic problems first hit the sector in Europe last March, told shareholders it planned to cut the number to just 50 aircraft.
Norwegian said it would operate within only Norway, the Nordic region and “key European destinations” in future.
Chief executive Jacob Schram said: “Our short-haul network has always been the backbone of Norwegian and will form the basis of a future resilient business model.”
He added: “By focusing our operation on a short-haul network, we aim to attract existing and new investors, serve our customers and support the wider infrastructure and travel industry in Norway and across the Nordics and Europe.
“Our focus is to rebuild a strong, profitable Norwegian so that we can safeguard as many jobs as possible.”