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OSLO, May 7 (Reuters) - Norwegian Air's on Tuesday reported gains in April load factor and yield while dealing with the grounding of its 18 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
Its load factor, the percentage of seats sold, rose to 86.1 from 83.0 percent a year earlier, beating an analysts forecast of 85.9 percent.
Its yield, a measure of revenue per passenger carried and km flown, rose to 0.41 Norwegian crown ($0.0471) from 0.33 crown in March, topping the 0.38 crown expected by analysts in a Reuters poll.
The carrier managed to limit to the impact from grounding its 737 MAX planes, which make up about 11 percent of its fleet, by combining flights and offering passengers alternative departures, it said.
While analysts had anticipated an income boost, there had been some uncertainty due to a strike among pilots at rival SAS and the grounding of the 737 MAXs.
Norwegian has curbed its rapid growth this year to focus on cutting costs and turning a profit. It also raised 3 billion crowns ($349.71 million) from shareholders to boost its balance sheet.
"I'm very pleased with the positive development in April, as well as the last two months as a whole; both in terms of passenger numbers, revenue and on-time performance," Chief Executive Bjoern Kjos said in a statement.
"We will continue to work on returning to profitability and at the same time offer our customers a high-quality product at a low fare," he said.
($1 = 8.7100 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Izabela Niemiec; editing by Nerijus Adomaitis and Jason Neely)