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A Boeing 787 taxis at Paine Field. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Bailey)

New Norwegian Start Up to Launch December 2021

Even during a pandemic, start-up airlines are popping up everywhere, likely with the hopes that a significant increase in travel demand will come later this year. In particular, a new Norway-based airline called Norse Atlantic Airways is expected to launch in December 2021 with a fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft flying transatlantic routes between the United States and Europe.

Sound familiar? Founded by three industry experts, Bjorn Kljos, Bjørn Kise and Bjørn Tore Larsen, it appears Norse is going to operate the long-haul flights that Norwegian Air Shuttle had to abandon in early 2021.

Norse Atlantic’s Initial Plans

Similar to the planned Pragusa.One, a new long-haul startup out of Prague and Dubrovnik, history shows that these types of low-cost, long-haul carriers are rarely successful. WOW Air and Norwegian had to cease long-haul operations, and Eurowings had to suspend all of its transatlantic flying, all due to financial stresses of the operation. So seeing another new long-haul carrier popping up is interesting, but its founders are confident it will work this time.

So far, Norse Atlantic has raised $24 million from shareholders and has secured the lease of nine Boeing 787 Dreamliners that were previously leased to Norwegian. According to One Mile at a Time, Norse wants to lease a total of 12 Dreamliners, and the final three leases are still pending.

Regarding routes, it is likely that the airline will schedule similar flights to what Norwegian flew before it suspended its long-haul flying. Cities include Paris, Oslo and London in Europe and New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Orlando in the United States. According to Norse, the company will only fly profitable routes and drop Scandanavian long-haul flying altogether but will partner with carriers like Norwegian to provide feeder services. Unfortunately for customers, that means $99 nonstop flights from Oslo to New York are off the table.

Who’s Running This?

The founders of Norse Atlantic Airways include two former top executives from Norwegian Air Shuttle and one from OSM Aviation. OSM Aviation founder Bjørn Tore Larsen, whose company staffed Norwegian flights before its restructuring, will lead the startup, holding a 53% share. He will take up the role of CEO at Norse and said he is excited about this “historic opportunity.”

He said in a statement, “We now have a historic opportunity to build a new airline from the start. When the world opens up again, there will be a need for an innovative low-cost company in the intercontinental market.”

Alongside Larsen, Norwegian Air Shuttle founder Bjorn Kljos will hold a 15% share, and former Norwegian chairman Bjørn Kise will hold 12%. Together the team will own 80% of the airline.

The real question is, will this airline actually get off the ground? Unlike other questionable startups, Norse Atlantic Airways has industry veterans at the helm, so their experience and expertise may make the carrier successful, even if it is their second try. Furthermore, a significant travel boom is expected once COVID-19 is under control, although it is not sure when exactly that will come. Hypothetically, because Norse plans to launch in December 2021, it may be perfect timing for high demand. However, in general, transatlantic flying between North America and Europe is low during January and February, so it will be interesting to see how Norse manages its seasonal schedules. Hopefully its founders learned from their mistakes at Norwegian.

Taylor Rains
Taylor Rains
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