* Pre-tax loss NOK 813 mln vs fcast NOK 706 mln
* Shares down 0.4 pct after Q1 results
* Repeats 2014 guidance
(Adds detail, shares)
OSLO, May 7 Norwegian Air Shuttle,
Europe's third-biggest budget airline, reported a worse than
expected first-quarter loss on Wednesday as a weak Norwegian
crown, flight delays and intense competition in its domestic
market hit the company hard.
Norwegian Air, which has been expanding rapidly to new bases
in Europe, Asia and the United States, said the loss came
despite growth in passenger traffic and nearly full planes.
"It has been a hard quarter for us," Norwegian Air's CEO
Bjoern Kjos told an analyst conference on Wednesday.
Its pre-tax loss widened to 813 million crowns ($137.44
million) in the quarter from 160 million crowns a year earlier,
lagging expectations for a 706 million crown loss.
Norwegian shares were down 0.41 percent at 0705 GMT,
slightly lagging an Oslo benchmark index down 0.31
Once among the top stocks in Oslo, Norwegian shares have
fallen by almost a fifth in the past year as it pays the price
of rapid expansion, stiffening competition and the weaker crown.
The company, which has over 200 jets on order with Boeing
and Airbus, has also faced a challenge to its
reputation after several high profile breakdowns of its new
long-haul Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Norwegian Air is Europe's third-largest budget airline by
passenger numbers after Ryanair and EasyJet.
(Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)