March 16, 2020 / 7:27 AM / 22 days ago

UPDATE 1-Norway's opposition leader calls for dedicated support for airlines

(Adds finance minister, background)

OSLO, March 16 (Reuters) - Norway must introduce dedicated measures to help its airlines industry weather the coronavirus crisis, opposition leader Jonas Gahr Stoere of the centre-left Labour Party said on Monday.

“I believe a dedicated package is required for airlines,” Stoere told public broadcaster NRK.

Norwegian Air last week said it would temporarily lay off up to half its 11,000 employees, while Scandinavian airline SAS on Sunday said 90% of its staff faced similar layoffs.

Norway’s minority centre-right government has introduced a range of economic measures to help companies amid the virus outbreak, but airlines have called for stronger measures for the aviation industry.

Finance Minister Jan Tore Sanner said on Monday the government was in close contact with airlines, but declined to comment on individual firms.

Oslo-based Norwegian Air and the industry associations it belongs to have called on authorities in Norway, Britain and elsewhere to help, and said on Friday it needed access to cash “within weeks, not months”. (Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche)

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