When it comes to transatlantic travel, Norwegian Air is dead. But in its place comes a new budget airline that hopes to fly 787s on transatlantic routes. Welcome aboard Norse Atlantic Airways.
Norse Atlantic Airways, The Successor To Norwegian Air Longhaul
In January, Norwegian Air announced it was abandoning all longhaul routes. The carrier faced harsh challenges long before COVID-19 including engine trouble on its Boeing 787 fleet and the grounding of its 737 MAX fleet and will now focus exclusively on flights within Europe.
Enter Norse Atlantic Airways, a new Norwegian-based start-up founded by a group of investors including Bjorn Kjos, the former CEO of Norwegian Air.
The new carrier plans to launch service later this year and serve North American cities including:
- Los Angeles
- New York
from a trio of European cities, including:
Should U.S. operations be successful, the new carrier plans to add service to Asia.
Norse Atlantic Airways plans to use a fleet of 787s for its longhaul operations and has reportedly already secured nine of 12 Dreamliners that Norwegian Air used for its transatlantic service. Majority owner Bjorn Larsen noted:
“We have industry knowledge and have secured modern Dreamliners at very good terms.”
Will This Business Model Work?
Shedding the debt and picking up where Norwegian Air left off is not a stupid idea, though longhaul budget carriers have always struggled to make money. The plan to start next winter is a bit perleplxing, as this is a time when leisure demand between North America and Europe has historically been lowest.
On the plus side, Norse Atlantic Airways claims it has already raised $24 million. It also has plenty of time to figure things out and is well-positioned to obtain reasonably-priced aircraft as the world emerges from pandemic.
As a consumer, I am ecstatic about the negative pricing pressure that budget carriers place on legacy airlines. Norwegian Air prompted others to match and consumers won, even when they did not fly Norwegian.
Hopefully cheap one-way fares on Norse Atlantic Airways will prompt others to match.
My single flight on Norwegian Air was pleasant enough for premium economy, but it was never going to be my go-to option. Nevertheless, I benefited greatly from the budget airline because it forced others to lower prices in order to compete. It is my hope that Norse Atlantic Airways will prosper by finding the inefficiencies of Norwegian Air and avoiding the 787 engine trouble and pandemic that made a tricky situation visually impossible.
Would you consider flying on Norse Atlantic Airways if it was just like Norwegian Air?