The Oslo-headquartered carrier operates eight 787-8s and has 11 787-9s on order. With this latest commitment, Norwegian’s long-haul fleet will grow to 38 787s by 2020.
“This order of 19 new Dreamliners is a major milestone and enables Norwegian to offer a wide range of new routes to consumers worldwide. The order is also essential to further strengthening the company in the global competition,” Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos said.
Norwegian, which launched long-haul, low-cost operations two years ago, said the new 787s will be used to launch new services and expand its network. Kjos said the airline’s long-haul load factors have “averaged in the nineties,” proving there is demand for budget flights from Europe to the USA and Asia.
Norwegian’s 787-9s will have 344 seats, 35 in premium and 309 in economy, and deliveries from this order will start in 2017. Norwegian’s asset company, Arctic Aviation Assets Ltd., will own the aircraft.
Boeing said that the Norwegian deal is the largest single 787-9 order from a European airline. “Norwegian has led the way in utilizing the exceptional performance of the 787 to develop a successful low-cost long-haul operation.
The addition of 787-9s to the Norwegian fleet will enable it to grow its route structure, while providing more range and capacity with outstanding passenger comfort,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes VP-European sales Todd Nelp said.
Norwegian’s order backlog now stands at more than 150 Boeing aircraft, including 100 737 MAXs, as well as 100 Airbus A320neos.
During the third quarter, Norwegian carried 7.7 million passengers, up 9% on the prior year period, boosted by 15% long-haul passenger growth that nudged its load factor up six points to 91%. Its pre-tax profit for the quarter doubled from NOK505 million ($61.9 million) to NOK1.1 billion, although the prior year was affected by exceptional items.
“The third quarter results show that Norwegian’s long-haul operations and international routes are becoming significantly more important. This is where we see most of the future growth potential, enabling the company to compete in a global market with strong competition,” Kjos said.
He added that UK expansion will continue to be at the forefront of Norwegian’s long-term plans, although the airline has also seen considerable growth in Spain. The Nordic market is stable, with Norwegian seeing “a slight increase” in market share.
(Victoria Moores - ATWOnline News)