Norse Atlantic Airways says it is delaying its launch by around one month because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the result the war might have on travel demand, as well as jet fuel prices.
The Oslo-based carrier had originally hoped to start selling tickets this month but has decided to wait and see what happens rather than risk starting a new airline at such an uncertain time.
“The tragedy unfolding in Ukraine creates uncertainties within international air transport that we take seriously,” explained chief executive Bjørn Tore Larsen. “We are in a unique position as we have not yet started flying, which gives us the advantage to enter the market cautiously in line with demand and quickly adapt to unforeseen events.”
Norse Atlantic hopes to crack the transatlantic low-cost long-haul market with plans to connect Norway, the UK and Europe with destinations across the United States including New York, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles.
The airline is seen as the successor to the failed long-haul airline Norwegian but despite Larsen’s connections with the old company, he insists that Norse Atlantic is a very different airline.
Nonetheless, the similarities are remarkable. Norse Atlantic will use Norwegian’s old Boeing 787 Dreamliners and the airline is being managed by many of Norwegian’s ex-senior management team. The business model is also very similar but Larsen says the new company will take a completely different approach to employee relations.
Norse has set up its first flight attendant base in Florida where crew members will be hired under a union contract. Pilots will be hired in Norway and collective bargaining agreements have already been signed with unions in other countries where Norse intends to set up business.
Initially, Norse only plans to fly between Norway and the U.S. but the airline has already acquired landing and takeoff slots at London Gatwick Airport and hopes to also start flights from Paris in the near future.
If there aren’t any further delays, Larsen is hopeful the airline will start flying in June. The route network won’t be confirmed, however, until tickets actually go on sale.
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.