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Norwegian Air's June traffic down 97% yr/yr ahead of restart

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FILE PHOTO: Norwegian Air Sweden Boeing 737-800 plane SE-RRY lands in Riga International Airport in Riga
FILE PHOTO: Norwegian Air Sweden Boeing 737-800 plane SE-RRY lands in Riga International Airport in Riga

OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian Air's <NWC.OL> June passenger volume was down 96.7% from a year earlier as most of its fleet remained grounded by the coronavirus pandemic, it said on Monday.

It flew 113,000 passengers versus 3.48 million in June 2019.

The budget airline, which is slowly restarting services this month, cut most of its network in March.

Norwegian in May won backing from owners and creditors for a financial restructuring and aims to rebuild operations, albeit on a smaller scale than before the pandemic.

Initially limiting its operations during COVID-19 to domestic flights in Norway, the airline this month reactivated 12 aircraft to fly across Europe, taking the total to 20, while more than 100 remain parked.

"Demand has gradually picked up again and last week's bookings increased by 40% for flights in July and August," Norwegian said in a statement.

On June 29 the airline cancelled orders for 97 new Boeing <BA.N> aircraft and said it would claim compensation from the U.S. planemaker for the grounding of the 737 MAX and engine problems on its 787 Dreamliner jets.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik; editing by Jason Neely)