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OSLO, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Norwegian Air plans to close its long-haul operation and focus on a scaled-down European business, adding on Thursday that it had restarted talks with the government about possible government aid for its restructuring.
Norwegian, which helped transform transatlantic travel by expanding the European budget airline business model to longer-haul destinations, has been forced to ground all but six of its aircraft amid the pandemic.
The plan, which is subject to approval by an Irish bankruptcy court, is part of budget carrier Norwegian's attempts to contend with the coronavirus crisis and complete a debt restructuring. If approved the proposal would cut Norwegian's fleet to about 50 aircraft from the existing 140, it said.
It aims to cut its total debt to around 20 billion Norwegian crowns ($2.4 billion) and to raise between 4 billion and 5 billion crowns with a mix of new shares and hybrid capital.
"The Company has recently reinitiated a dialogue with the Norwegian Government about possible state participation based on the current business plan," the carrier said in a statement. ($1 = 8.4698 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Terje Solsvik Editing by David Goodman and Alexander Smith)