Low-cost long-haul Norse Atlantic delays launch as war in Ukraine hits demand
Start-up Norse Atlantic Airways has delayed its planned launch, citing demand uncertainties and rising oil prices caused by the war in Ukraine.
“The tragedy unfolding in Ukraine creates uncertainties within international air transport that we take seriously,” CEO and founder Bjørn Tore Larsen said on March 15, 2022. “We are in a unique position as we have not yet started flying, which gives us the advantage to enter the market cautiously in line with demand and quickly adapt to unforeseen events.”
Norse Atlantic, which will operate Boeing 787 Dreamliners, said it now plans to start ticket sales in April and commence flights in June. It had previously expected to start ticket sales in late March and start flying in the second quarter.
Its first flights will be between Norway and destinations in the United States. The new airline said it will start flights from Paris and London when the market situation allows.
“The current global situation makes it challenging to predict the demand for transatlantic travel. However, we strongly believe that the demand will bounce back with full force because people will want to explore new destinations, visit friends and family and travel for business,” Larsen said.
Norse Atlantic also announced on March 15, 2022 that it had secured slots at London Gatwick airport (LGW).
The airport, operated by Vinci, said Norse Atlantic had acquired two six-weekly slot pairs. Routes are yet to be confirmed but the airport expects service to start in summer 2022.
“We’re thrilled to have been awarded slots to operate flights to and from London Gatwick Airport as it gives us access to one of the most attractive markets in Europe,” Larsen said.
The airline plans to have a fleet of 15 B787 Dreamliners. Nine are currently parked at Oslo Airport, with the remaining six to be delivered in the coming months.
“The company will start utilizing its fleet cautiously and gradually add capacity in line with demand,” it pledged.
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