Low-cost carrier (LCC) Norwegian reported a 2016 net profit of NOK1.1 billion ($131.6 million), more than quadrupling its NOK246 million net result in 2015. Full-year revenue for the carrier rose 15.8% to NOK26.1 billion. Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos described the results as “our best ever.”

Norwegian’s 2016 operating expenses increased 6.9% to NOK20.1 billion; full-year operating profit was NOK1.8 billion, a fivefold increase over NOK347.8 million in 2015 operating income.

Passenger traffic increased 20.1% year-over-year (YOY) to 50.8 billion RPKs. Capacity grew 18.1% YOY to 57.9 billion ASKs, resulting in an 87.7% load factor, up 1.5 points from 2015. Yield was down 5% to NOK0.42; RASK decreased 3% to NOK0.36; and CASK ex-fuel rose 2% to NOK 0.32. Ancillary revenue per passenger increased 5.5% YOY to NOK134.

Norwegian said its full-year results were influenced by international expansion. The airline increased its presence in Spain and the UK, and in December 2016, Norwegian’s Ireland-based subsidiary Norwegian Air International (NAI) was granted approval by the US Department of Transportation to start transatlantic flights between Ireland and the US.

The airline took delivery of 17 new Boeing 737-800s, four new 787-9s and two Airbus A320neos in 2016 and opened 34 new routes, including nine new intercontinental routes. The carrier intends to launch over 50 new routes in 2017, including several US-Barcelona routes and a San Francisco-Copenhagen route. It will use the new 737 MAX aircraft on intercontinental routes.

For 2017, Norwegian expects capacity to grow 30%, with plans to add 32 aircraft to its fleet, including nine 787-9s, 17 737-800Ws and six 737 MAX 8s, the first of which is scheduled for delivery in the summer of 2017. Additionally, three Airbus A320neos are scheduled to be delivered in 2017, which Norwegian will lease to HK Express.

“[2016 was] a year of strong international growth, establishing operations in new markets and tough competition,” Kjos said. “We enter 2017 with the ambition to increase and strengthen our foothold in established markets, while simultaneously developing our route network in new parts of the world.”

Mark Nensel mark.nensel@penton.com