Norwegian Air Shuttle is leasing two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft as it rebuilds its operations.
The budget airline said in a statement on December 1, 2021, that deliveries will begin “shortly” and they will help the airline operate its summer 2022 program.
Norwegian has previously said that it plans to increase its fleet to a peak of 50 short-haul aircraft within the last few months of 2021 and then to 70 aircraft in 2022. In October 2021, Norwegian operated an average of 48 aircraft and carried 1.2 million passengers, the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that it welcomed more than 1 million passengers in a month.
The leases for each 737 MAX 8 aircraft are for nine years and include ‘power by the hour’ (PBH) agreements for winter 2021/2022 and 2022/2023. Airlines have increasingly used such agreements during the pandemic to keep their leasing costs under control.
“This agreement is an important step in Norwegian’s plan to build an efficient and modern fleet for the future,” commented Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian. “The flexibility of ‘power-by-the-hour’ will allow us to manage our capacity through the low season adjusting for variations in seasonal demand.”
Norwegian also has the option to switch the 737 MAX 8 aircraft for narrowbody Airbus aircraft.
The budget airline, which emerged from restructuring in May 2021, is seeking to grow in a “selective” fashion. Rapid expansion was part of the reason for its previous financial difficulties. The airline, which previously offered low-cost long-haul flights, is this time operating only short-haul flights.