Low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle said Thursday it planned to slash CO2 emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and reduce its use of plastics as part of a new environmental strategy.

"The low-cost business model is the sustainability model as it enables efficient energy and resource management," chief executive Jacob Schram said in a statement.

Europe's third-biggest low-cost carrier, which is struggling financially, aims to reduce its emissions -- from 2010 levels -- by renewing its fleet and using cleaner fuels.

It also plans to stop using non-recyclable plastic by 2023 and to recycle all single-use plastics.

Norwegian Air Shuttle is looking to slash CO2 emissions
Norwegian Air Shuttle is looking to slash CO2 emissions AFP / JOEL SAGET

Norwegian, which was struggling even before the Covid-19 pandemic paralysed the aviation industry, quadrupled its losses in the first half of 2020.

With a 71 percent drop in passengers, 8,000 employees either furloughed or cut, and 140 planes grounded, Norwegian has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis which forced it into an unwanted "hibernation", raising doubts about its survival.

Schram has said the company "will need more help... to get through the winter."

Looking ahead, the company plans to reduce the number of flights from pre-corona levels, and focus on profitable routes rather than the aggressive expansion it had originally envisaged.