Norwegian needs more cash after slumping to £450m loss

Budget longhaul carrier loss is about five times higher than the same period last year as boss warns of 'challenging times ahead'

Norwegian Air said it would need more cash to survive after sinking to a huge half-year loss.

It budget longhaul carrier posted a net loss of 5.4bn crowns (£450m) for the six months to June - far higher than the 1.4bn loss for the same period last year.

"Norwegian is facing challenging times ahead," the airline said.

Creditors and lessors took control of Norwegian in May with a financial rescue that allowed it to access state-guaranteed loans, with an aim of keeping the airline in business until demand for air travel resumes.

Chief Executive Jacob Schram said it was grateful for a loan guarantee from the Norwegian government, but added: "Given the current market conditions it is not enough to get through this prolonged crisis."

Nordic rival SAS, which is trying to gather support for a 14bn Swedish crown recapitalisation plan, posted a multi-billion crown loss for the three months to July this week.

Norwegian aims to rebuild operations, albeit on a smaller scale, after it won the backing of owners and creditors for a 12.7bn crowns debt conversion and share sale, and accessed a 3bn crowns government aid package three months ago.

Norwegian will put five more planes back in the air next month, raising the total to 25, while 115 remain grounded.

With most of its business on hold, Norwegian cancelled orders for 97 Boeing aircraft in late June and said it would claim compensation from the US plane maker for the grounding of the 737 Max and for 787 engine troubles.