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New Domestic Carrier Set To Launch in Norway
While most established carriers around the world are fighting to stay afloat amidst the most devastating crisis the commercial aviation industry has known, there are also some carriers that are betting on the future by signing large aircraft orders, like Ryanair, or expanding to new bases, like Wizz Air. And there are also some people who believe it is the right time to set up a new airline and look forward to a launch in 2021, in an environment that still looks set to be very uncertain between still lagging demand and the early hopes for newly created vaccines.
A group of 30 Norwegian executives led by Erik Braathens — a former director of Braathens SAFE, a company that operated in Norway for 57 years before being absorbed by Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) in 2004 — has announced they are launching a new start-up domestic carrier in Norway that is planning to take the skies during the first half of 2021. The name of the new carrier is Flyr and it will focus on delivering “the simplest flight, in the most suitable way possible,” says the airline’s website.
An Opportunity in the Domestic Market
“Norway is an elongated country with fjords and mountains, which means that we will need to fly in the years ahead, but probably a little less than we have done before. Therefore, we build an airline from scratch, based on many years of experience, with a size, organization and business model that is adapted to this future,” the company’s website reads.
In light of the financial difficulties low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle is facing during this pandemic — and probably banking on its demise — Flyr is planning to offer an alternative to multi-national flag carrier SAS and regional carrier Wideroe, as well as future competitor Wizz Air, with the airline putting special attention to the environment.
“We must all fly less in the years to come to take care of the environment. Precisely for this reason, we are building a company that does not depend on getting more and more people to fly more and more in order to achieve profitability,” says the company on its website, pointing out that all employees will be directly hired by the company in compliance with Norwegian labor laws and paying Norwegian market salaries. Norwegian Air Shuttle has faced serious scrutiny throughout the years both in Norway and in the E.U. for registering their fleet and hiring crews outside of Scandinavia, particularly in Ireland and the United Kingdom where labor regulations are less stringent than in their home country.
Flyr is focusing on simplifying the flight experience by allowing passengers to manage their entire experience through a phone app, from booking to baggage delivery.
“The name Flyr [the verb “to fly” in Norwegian] reflects the simplicity of the company and the product we are in the process of building. The choice of name may challenge traditional rules and expectations, and in the same way we want to be a challenger in aviation,” the company says on its website.
The new CEO of the company will be Tonje Wikstrom Frislid, a 45-year-old executive with extensive experience in the airline industry who has spent over 10 years in senior positions at Norwegian Air Shuttle. She will be joined by a team of 30 professionals with many years of experience in the business.
There has been no confirmation as to the type of aircraft that Flyr will operate or which routes will be served, but the airline had previously indicated that in the initial phase a small fleet of Airbus A320 or Boeing 737 aircraft would constitute the operational backbone of the carrier, Flightglobal reports. It has also been confirmed that the company will have its headquarters and main base at Norway’s capital Oslo Gardermoen Airport.
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