UPDATE 1-Norwegian Air says bookings rise as travel restrictions are lifted

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OSLO, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Norwegian Air expects bookings to rise in the coming months as European travel resumes in the aftermath of COVID-19 restrictions, but is still unable to provide financial guidance for the rest of 2021, it said on Tuesday.

The budget carrier, which has cut its fleet by two-thirds following the outbreak of the pandemic, reported revenue of 591 million Norwegian crowns ($68.3 million) for the first half of 2021, down from 7.1 billion crowns in the same period of 2020.

The budget carrier, which emerged from government-backed bankruptcy proceedings in May, saw the number of passengers jump in July, although the volume was still less than a fifth of those flown at the same time two years ago.

“Forward bookings continue to increase in response to the relaxation of travel restrictions and the roll out of international vaccination programmes,” Chief Executive Geir Karlsen said in a statement.

“We expect to see this trend continue in the remaining months in 2021 and through 2022,” he added. ($1 = 8.6535 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Victoria Klesty and Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche)

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