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Breakingviews - Capital Calls: Norway’s Flyr soars on debut

A passenger plane comes in to land at London Heathrow airport in London, Britain, July 29, 2020.

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Concise insights on global finance in the Covid-19 era.

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TAKING OFF. Norwegian aviation looks like Darwinian capitalism in action. Shares in startup carrier Flyr jumped 28% on its debut on Monday, valuing it at $111 million. A private placement last month raised $70 million from investors. That’s a lot to chuck at an airline that doesn’t yet have planes or an operating licence – unless the competition is on life support.

Founded in a pandemic, Flyr is clearly not for the faint-hearted. Its investor presentation leads with 10 pages of risk factors. Yet there’s much in its favour. Norway’s sparse population, separated by fjords, has greater need for domestic flights than most. And Covid-19 has decimated rivals like Norwegian Air Shuttle, now in administration. That also means pilots and planes are cheap. Flyr reckons aircraft leasing costs are half historic levels. Low-cost European carriers Ryanair and Wizz Air display similar survival-of-the-fittest resilience. Their shares are up 12% and 27% from pre-coronavirus levels. (By Ed Cropley)

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