Just weeks after the Oslo-based low-cost airline Norwegian said it would abandon its long-haul transatlantic operation for good, a new upstart nordic airline is in the works and it plans once again to suceed where Norwegian failed – make a low-cost, long-haul business model profitable.
Currently going by the name of Norse Atlantic Airways, the new airline plans to launch by December 2021 with initial plans to connect destinations like Miami, Los Angeles and New York City with London, Paris and Oslo.
The business will be familiar territory for the main players behind the venture – Bjørn Kjos, the founder of Norwegian, along with his business partner Bjørn Kise are major shareholders in the airline. Kjos stepped down from the helm at Norwegian just months before the Coronavirus pandemic decimated the aviation industry.
The driving force behind Norse Atlantic Airways, however, appears to be Bjørn Tore Larsen – the founder of aviation staff outsourcing company OSM Aviation owns 53 per cent of the new carrier. OSM Aviation was founded to initially provide staff to Norwegian but it lost its oldest and biggest customer when Norwegian decided to bring all its employees inhouse.
Norse Atlantic Airways will likely fill that void, using OSM Aviation to provide staff who will fly on second-hand Boring 787 Dreamliners that were once part of Norwegian’s long-haul fleet. OSM Aviation is already accepting applications for cabin crew to join the new carrier.
Larsen said on Monday that the new business had secured a very good deal on the planes. Norse has already secured the rights to nine aircraft and deals on a further three used Norwegian Dreamliners are close to being signed.
While the pandemic was the final straw on the camels back for Norwegian’s long-haul operations, the airline had long been struggling because of ongoing engine problems with its Boeing 787 fleet – an issue that Larsen says has been fixed and which will work in Norse’s favour.
“There is no doubt that it is ‘risky business’, just like shipping,” Larsen said of his decision to start a new low-cost, long-haul airline. “Timing is incredibly important and we believe it has never been better. This is the one opportunity to get in and take over a market position and get much cheaper flights than otherwise,” he continued.
“This makes the economy different, and we can establish ourselves at low cost when people on both sides of the Atlantic have been vaccinated and start travelling again.”
Larsen believes he can capture market share by offering tickets at half the price of rivals like American Airlines, Air France and British Airways. Leisure travel is expected to recover first as the world emerges from the pandemic – a market segment perfectly suited to low-cost airlines.
If the airline succeeds on the hyper competitive transatlantic market, Norse also plans to expand into Asian destinations according to a press release.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.