After a truly impactful year on the aviation industry, Norwegian Air announced that due to COVID-19 and government advice discouraging travel, it would abandon its long haul flights to focus on its European audience for the time being.
That means Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is losing two European routes: a nonstop route to London and Austin's sole nonstop route to Paris.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected the entire aviation industry," Norwegian Air said in a press release. "Travel restrictions and changing government advice continue to negatively influence demand for long haul travel, and Norwegian's entire Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet has been grounded since March 2020. Future demand remains highly uncertain. Under these circumstances, a long haul operation is not viable for Norwegian and these operations will not continue."
Norwegian said that instead, it will continue to offer short haul service to its Nordic customers and to key destinations around Europe. The airline said it plans to reassess opportunities in the future, as the world starts to recover from COVID-19.
Norwegian announced in October 2019 that it would offer nonstop service from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport—the only airline at ABIA to do so. The flights were scheduled to take off in May 2020 and were unfortunately never able to get off the ground.
British Airways will still provide a nonstop route from Austin to London, though service is temporarily suspended.
Norwegian Air CEO Jacob Schram said he doesn't expect customer demand for long haul flights to recover in the near future.
"Our focus is to rebuild a strong, profitable Norwegian so that we can safeguard as many jobs as possible," Schram said. "It is with a heavy heart that we must accept that this will impact dedicated colleagues from across the company. I would like to thank each one of our affected colleagues for their tireless dedication and contribution to Norwegian over the years."
The airline said it will issue refunds to customers that have been affected by the announcement.
The Texas Department of State Health Services will allocate 332,750 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to 212 providers this week, with the bulk assigned to hub providers that are focused on widespread community distribution events. Six of those providers are in Travis County.
With the latest allocation of 16,450 sent to Travis County this week, the county will have received 104,275 doses of the vaccine. Local public health officials estimate that there are 285,000 area residents who fall in the 1A and 1B priority groups, meaning that around 37% of them should have access to doses seven weeks into the rollout process.
Here's where the latest allotment is going:
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The California exodus has made headlines for several years now, and even more recently, with thousands of West Coasters seeking tax relief, less-expensive real estate and a simpler lifestyle in Texas' capital city.
However, a California man's scathing review of Austin, which was published in Business Insider on Wednesday, reveals that some are less than satisfied with their move.