The FINANCIAL — Norwegian, Europe’s third largest low-cost airline, is continuing to expand its international operations by signing an agreement to purchase 19 new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners – the order will help more than quadruple its current long-haul fleet to 38 aircraft within the next five years.
The agreement is the largest single order of 787-9s in Europe and includes purchase options for an additional ten aircraft of the same type. The new order will enable the company to launch even more long-haul routes and expand its existing network in the coming years, according to Norwegian.
Norwegian already operates Dreamliner aircraft from its London Gatwick base, serving the UK’s only low-cost long-haul flights to US – Dreamliners are used on services to New York, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale with fares from just £149. A further low-cost route from Gatwick to Boston will be launched in May 2016, while next month will see the launch of low-cost Caribbean flights with the UK’s only direct route to Puerto Rico – both new routes will also be served by Dreamliner aircraft with fares from £179.
Norwegian currently operates eight 787-8 Dreamliners and has 11 of the bigger 787-9 on order. With today’s order, Norwegian’s long-haul fleet will consist of 38 Dreamliners by 2020. The first deliveries from the new order will commence in 2017.
The 787-9 complements and extends the 787 family. With a longer fuselage, the 787-9 will fly 53 more passengers than the 787-8. Norwegian’s asset company, Arctic Aviation Assets Limited (AAA), will own the aircraft.
Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos said: “This order of 19 new Dreamliners is a major milestone and enables Norwegian to offer a wide range of new routes to travellers worldwide. After two years of operating low-cost long-haul flights, our load factors have averaged over 90 per cent, which proves the demand for affordable flights between Europe and the US and Europe and Asia. The fuel-efficient, state-of-the-art 787 Dreamliner will be crucial to our future growth and competiveness in the long-haul market and in offering the best possible passenger experience.”
Todd Nelp, Vice President of European Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes said: “Norwegian has led the way in utilising 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.”
Norwegian’s version of the 787-9 has 344 seats with 35 in premium and 309 in economy. With today’s order for 19 787-9s, Norwegian has more than 150 unfilled orders from Boeing, including 100 737 MAXs. In addition, the company has 100 Airbus A320neos on order.