OSLO, April 25 (Reuters) - The grounding of Norwegian Air's fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft may scupper the carrier's plan to return to profitability this year, it said while posting a widening first-quarter loss on Thursday.
"Due to the uncertainty related to the MAX grounding, the company sees increased risk related to the target of a positive net profit in 2019," Norwegian said.
The budget carrier's net result plunged to a loss of 1.49 billion Norwegian crowns ($172.4 million) from 46.2 million crowns a year ago, while analysts in a Reuters poll on average had expected a deficit of 1.65 billion crowns.
Norwegian, which has cut costs and raised money from shareholders in recent months, said late on Wednesday it had agreed with Boeing and Airbus to postpone more aircraft deliveries as it seeks to preserve cash. ($1 = 8.6440 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Victoria Klesty, editing by Gwladys Fouche)