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Originally published Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 2:01 AM

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Norwegian hit by soaring fuel costs in Q4

Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA said Thursday it was hit by tough competition and higher fuel costs during the fourth quarter of last year.

The Associated Press

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OSLO, Norway —

Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA said Thursday it was hit by tough competition and higher fuel costs during the fourth quarter of last year.

The budget airline said its net loss widened to 133 million kroner ($23 million) from 23 million kroner the year before, despite an 18 percent growth in revenue to 2.5 billion kroner.

Norwegian gave a mixed outlook saying bookings had been satisfactory at the turn of the year and that it would "continue to take advantage of its increasing competitive power," reached through savings and using larger aircraft with lower operating costs.

But it cautioned that competitive pressures, which had a negative impact in the quarter, would continue in 2012 because of the financial crisis in Europe and a global economic downturn.

"Future demand is dependent on sustained consumer and business confidence in the company's key Scandinavian markets," the airline said. "Fuel price and currency fluctuations are risks which can have a significant impact on Norwegians business and financial results."

The airline's share price fell more than 4 percent to 76.75 kroner ($13.36) in morning trading on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

Norwegian Air Shuttle is one of Europe's fastest growing airlines, which last month announced plans to buy more than 200 aircraft from Boeing and Airbus.

Some 4 million passengers traveled on the airline in the quarter, compared to 3.3 million a year earlier. In the full-year, almost 16 million passengers flew Norwegian - up 20 percent over 2010.

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http://www.norwegian.com

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