* Says recovery in traffic slow after ash flight bans ended
* Says rebookings and reimbursements boost yield uncertainty
By Wojciech Moskwa
OSLO, May 6 Budget airline Norwegian Air Shuttle
(NWC.OL) said it carried 300,000 fewer passengers than forecast
in April when 21 percent of its flights were cancelled because
of volcanic ash clouds over Europe.
Norwegian Air said on Thursday it carried 791,000
passengers, 8 percent less than April 2009.
"The closure of European airspace had a multiplier effect...
the recovery of passenger traffic was slow the first week of
resumed operations, hampering the load factor.
"The nine-day disruption caused...an estimated 300,000 fewer
passengers to fly with Norwegian compared to the forecast," said
the airline, a rival of Scandinavian airline SAS (SAS.ST).
Total passenger traffic, measured by the number of
passengers and kilometres flown (RPK), rose 1 percent on the
back of a 5 percent rise in flying distance.
The yield -- the average revenue per passenger carried and
kilometre flown -- was estimated at 0.51 Norwegian crowns in
April, down 19 percent year-on-year.
"The yield was negatively affected by the closure of
European airspace, and there is increased uncertainty related to
the yield estimate from rebooking and ongoing reimbursement
activities from a large number of cancelled flights," it said in
its monthly traffic update.
The load factor, which measures seats sold as a percentage
of capacity, fell in April by 8 percentage points from a year
ago to 71 percent, the airline said.
Norwegian Air said it operated 79 percent of its 9,456
scheduled flights in April.
(Reporting by Wojciech Moskwa; Editing by Dan Lalor)