March 18, 2020 / 10:58 AM / 10 days ago

UPDATE 1-Norway PM's office to host airlines meeting Wed -union

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By Victoria Klesty and Gwladys Fouche

OSLO, March 18 (Reuters) - The Norwegian prime minister's office will host a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the situation of the country's airlines industry, labour union Parat said.

The office of Prime Minister Erna Solberg declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

Struggling Norwegian Air on Tuesday called on Norway's government to provide financial backing similar to what rival SAS has received from the Danish and Swedish governments.

Norwegian's shares rose 36% by 1046 GMT as pressure mounted on the government to step in after Denmark and Sweden offered SAS a total of 3 billion Swedish crowns ($302 million) in credit guarantees.

"We hope that similar measures will soon be offered for Norwegian in the form of a credit facility," the airline, which has decided to cancel 85% of its flights, said late on Tuesday.

The carrier has grounded most of its fleet and announced temporary layoffs of 90% of its staff amid the coronavirus outbreak that has brought global aviation to a near standstill.

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. (Reporting by Victoria Klesty and Gwladys Fouche, editing by Terje Solsvik)

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