Norwegian Air unexpectedly swung into the black after posting record revenues and slashing costs during its second quarter.
But after a number of years disrupting the market and expanding at pace, Norwegian warned growth would slow in the coming months with “ramp-up” costs set to decrease.
The airline has been pursued by multiple airlines in 2018. It has rejected two offers from British Airways owner IAG with Lufthansa also interested in submitting a proposal. “Several other” airlines are interested, chief executive Bjorn Kros said last month.
Norwegian posted a net profit of Nkr 300 million (£28m) in the three months to June, compared with a loss of Nkr 691 million in the same period last year. Costs fell by 9pc and by 19pc excluding fuel.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a loss of Nkr 535 million.
Mr Kros said: “Despite being at the peak of our growth phase, we have been able to present a profit and decreased unit costs during the second quarter.
“Going forward, the growth will slow down and we will reap what we have sown for the benefit of our customers, staff and shareholders.”
Although Norwegian increased passenger numbers by 16pc to 10 million during the quarter, load factors – the number of people the carrier fits on its aircraft – slipped 0.9pc to 86.8pc.
Norwegian is Gatwick Airport’s third largest airline, carrying 4.6m passengers each year from the nation’s second-largest airport. A merger with IAG makes sense to many industry onlookers as it will provide the British Airways owner with a straightforward entry into low-cost trans-Atlantic flights. Having the weight of IAG’s balance sheet behind Norwegian could mitigate concerns about its burgeoning debt pile.
Earlier this month HSBC analysts suggested easyJet – which has a feeder relationship with Norwegian and its long-haul flights from Gatwick – could be interested in Norwegian’s short-haul slots if IAG was to buy its long-haul business.
“We would be surprised, however, to see easyJet show interest in the broader business,” HSBC analysts wrote.
Norwegian’s Oslo-listed shares rose by more than 7pc in morning trade.