Its seems Norwegian Air Shuttle is still liking Boeing Dreamliners (even after the problems they have had with their fleet in the first instance as the airline has chosen to lease another four Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
Currently the airline has:
- Three 787-8s in service
- Three 787-8s to be leased
- Two further 787-8s to be purchased and owned by Norwegian
- Two 787-9s to be leased
The additional four aircraft will increase the cadre of aircraft in Norwegians Long Haul Fleet to eight 787-8s and six 787-9s. The new aircraft will be delivered between 2017 and 2018.
The timing of the announcement is interesting as Norwegian Air Shuttle have managed to secure an Irish Air Operators certificate as “Norwegian Air International”, allowing it to operate flights from Europe. The airline is applying for further traffic rights to the USA under the Open Skies Treaties between Europe and the US (Norway is not part of the EU, and thus not a signatory to this).
The 787 fleet will be transferred to this subsidiary as time goes on.
Which has annoyed Airlines For America no end, citing labour arrangements due to Norwegian using what it calls “unfair labour practices”. ALPA has also filed similar complaints too.
Or as others call it: Competition.
If other airlines crack the same nut in the way Norwegian Long Haul is trying to do, this could finally open up some serious competition across the Atlantic – which is currently dominated by the three main alliances (Of which American, Delta and United have major interests on Trans-Atlantic routes, with local partners such as British Airways, Air France-KLM and Lufthansa to name a few).
Whilst three aircraft is hardly a challenge to the existing operators (and if they operate 14 aircraft, it’s not exactly a big fleet), it’s still a dent that other airlines will have to find a way to compete on.
This could run…