Norwegian Air has today posted a wider first-quarter loss as the coronavirus crisis froze global travel, days after completing a financial rescue in which creditors took control of the carrier. 

The pioneer in low-fare transatlantic travel reported a January-March pretax loss of 3.28 billion Norwegian crowns ($332 million) compared to a loss of 1.98 billion a year earlier. 

In March it temporarily laid off some 7,300 employees, or about 90% of its staff, and last month said subsidiaries in Denmark and Sweden had filed for bankruptcy. 

"The company is currently in hibernation mode and at the same time is conducting significant restructuring of the organisation, including establishing a new strategy and updated business plans," the budget airline said in a statement. 

Before the Covid-19 outbreak, Norwegian had set out a plan to regain annual profitability in 2020 after posting losses for three consecutive years, but instead found itself fighting to survive. 

"Our goal is to ensure that Norwegian has a strong position in the future airline industry with a clear direction and strategy," CEO Jacob Schram said in a statement. 

The airline has grounded most of its fleet and this month secured 3 billion Norwegian crowns in government loans after completing a 12.7 billion crowns debt conversion and share sale. 

A preliminary recovery plan published in April calls for operating just seven aircraft for up to a year, followed by a gradual build-up to 110-120 aircraft in 2022, down from a current fleet of 147.

Rivals such as Lufthansa, SAS, Ryanair and EasyJet in recent days have announced the reopening of some routes. 

"As soon as the world returns to normalcy, we will be prepared to return with improved service to our customers," Schram said.

Nordic carrier SAS also reported today that it was conducting intensive talks with investors to secure its own future.