The new Oslo-based low-cost airline Norse Atlantic Airways, which is supposed to take off in late 2021 or early 2022, is gearing up for the upcoming launch. The start-up air carrier is already set to lease six Boeing 787 Dreamliners which will operate long-haul operations. What do we know about the newcomer of the Norwegian air travel market so far?

According to the Norse Atlantic Airways announcement dated August 2, 2021, the new holder of a Norwegian Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) signed a lease agreement with lessor BOC Aviation over six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners for a term of approximately 16 years per aircraft. The new airline outlined it expected to receive all the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine-powered jets by December 2021. 

“We are pleased to expand our leasing relationships to include a lessor the caliber of BOC Aviation as we grow our fleet and continue to build our organization for take-off. [...] We very much look forward to welcoming customers on both sides of the Atlantic onboard these state-of-the-art aircraft as soon as the demand for transatlantic travel resumes,” Bjorn Tore Larsen, the founder, and CEO of Norse was quoted in the airline's statement.

The initial fleet of the new player of the Norwegian market should consist of a monogamous fleet of a total of 15 Dreamliners. Norse Atlantic Airways hopes that the wide-range aircraft will help the company to offer affordable transatlantic operations since jets of the type are considered as a modern and fuel-efficient option for serving long-haul. The start-up airline’s business strategy focuses on a low-cost market for international air travel between various European countries and the United States. 

While a part of the Norse Atlantic fleet will consist of BOC Aviation-leased jets, the remaining part of the aircraft is supposed to be taken from another leasing company. According to the statement issued by the Dublin-based lessor AerCap on March 29, 2021, the airline committed to lease six used Boeing 787-9s and three used Boeing 787-8 jets, all of them powered by the same Rolls Royce engines as the planes leased from BOC Aviation. Even though following the agreement, the delivery of 9 used aircraft was scheduled to begin in 2021, neither lessor, nor the air carrier had specified the exact time of the arrival.

It is speculated that the Oslo-based airline will attempt to take advantage of a gap in the low-cost long-haul market, which occurred after Norwegian Air Shuttle decided to drop transatlantic operations and re-directed its business into domestic operations in Ireland and Norway while undergoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection procedures.  

Although the CEO of Norse Atlantic insisted multiple times that the new air carrier will have nothing to do with Norwegian Air Shuttle, the initial network of the company will consist of quite similar routes which were used to be served by the troubled Norwegian Air Shuttle. The international operations of Norse Atlantic will include such destinations as Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, London, and Oslo.

In the meantime, on August 2, 2021, the Norwegian media reported that the founder and former CEO of Norwegian Air Shuttle Bjorn Kjos became an investor of the new long-haul airline and currently owns 15% of the startup. The investor is joined by another former Norwegian Air Shuttle executive Bjorn Kise, who used to chair the airline between 2010 and 2019.