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TRAVEL NEWS

Ferry services between Norway and Denmark cut back due to fuel prices 

Two of ferry company Fjordline’s boats will stop sailing between Stavanger, Bergen and Langesund in Norway and Hirtshals in Denmark between February and May. 

Pictured is a stock photo of a ferry cabin.
Ferry services between Norway and Denmark will be affected between February and May. Pictured is a stock photo of a ferry cabin.Photo by Henry Bauer on Unsplash

Some 36,000 passengers who had already booked tickets to travel on either the MS Stavangerfjord or the MS Bergensfjord services have had their trips cancelled.

Newspaper Bergens Tidende reports that the services will not run throughout the spring due to rising fuel costs.

The ferries currently run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), which has increased in price ten-fold, according to Fjordline CEO Brian Thorsted Hansen. 

The two ships being taken out of service will be converted to run-on marine gas oils (MGO), which have also increased in price- but not to the extent of liquefied natural gas. 

“Due to the energy crisis in Europe and very high gas prices, Fjord Line will rebuild its two ships which are currently powered by liquified natural gas (LNG). The conversion means that the ships will be able to switch between LNG and MGO as fuel, so that we ensure an economically sustainable operation also in the period until LNG prices normalise,” Fjordline writes on its website

Customers who had booked to travel on the services will be offered a refund, travel vouchers to be used with Fjordline, or the opportunity to be rebooked at a later date. 

MS Stavangerfjord sails Bergen-Stavanger-Hirtshals, MS Bergensfjord Hirtshals-Langesund. Neither of the routes will be operated between February 8th and May 25th. Fjordline has said that its Kristiansand-Hirtshals will run as normal from March 31st. 

Full service on all its routes to Denmark will not resume until June 17th, Fjordline writes on its website. 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Why cross-country flights are more popular than trains in Norway 

Figures have revealed that routes between Oslo and Bergen and the capital and Trondheim are among the most flown in Europe, with around 20 departures a day in each direction. So why are Norwegians opting for flights over the train? 

Why cross-country flights are more popular than trains in Norway 

Flights between Oslo and Bergen and Trondheim and Oslo were the fourth and fifth busiest air routes in Europe last year, according to European data agency Eurostat. 

Around 44 daily flights between Oslo and Trondheim and 38 between Bergen and the capital took off last year, contributing to some 222,622 domestic flights in total in 2022. 

Research from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) found that Norwegians’ flying habits contributed to twice as many C02 emissions as Swedish, German or French air passengers.

Flights between Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim account for around 20 percent of emissions caused by domestic flights within Norway, public broadcaster NRK reports.

So why are Norwegians choosing to fly between cities rather than taking the train or other means of transport? 

Climate researcher Helene Muri from NTNU said that several factors explain why domestic flights are far more popular than trains. 

First of all, she told NRK that the cost of taking a long-distance train between cities in Europe is cheaper and faster than it is in Norway. 

“The average Norwegian often has enough to travel with to be able to take a weekend trip and take these perhaps unnecessary flights. Trains in Norway are quite expensive, so when flying is cheaper and faster, you understand that people choose it,” she told NRK. 

For example, a flight between Oslo and Bergen can be completed in under an hour, while the train between Bergen and Oslo can take six to eight hours to complete. Trains to Trondheim from the capital take a similar time too. 

In some cases, such as when travelling to Tromsø from further south in Norway, a flight may be the most practical option due to Norway’s geography. 

“For example, Oslo-Tromsø is a stretch where it is not easy to find alternative means of transport,” Muri explained. 

Another reason why planes may be more attractive than trains is due to the sheer number of flights compared to trains. Recently the number of trains between Oslo and Bergen has been cut due to a lack of demand, with there typically being around four departures per day. 

In comparison, there are flight departures just over once an hour between the two biggest cities in Norway, meaning finding a flight to fit around one’s plans and itinerary is much easier. 

The popularity of flying between cities in Norway comes despite train travel contributing 12.2 grams of C02 per passenger per kilometre to the 236 grams of C02 emitted by planes per traveller and kilometre

Muri said that to entice more travellers onto trains, journey speeds and onboard amenities would need to be improved. 

“The time it takes to take a train between cities in Norway has actually increased. It takes longer now than it did before. It’s a bit remarkable and takes things in a bit of a wrong direction,” she said. 

“Increased capacity, increased speed and the availability of stable broadband in the trains are measures that can help shift traffic from the air onto the railway network,” she added. 

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