Norway’s largest airline Norwegian Air Shuttle aims to expand its fleet with at least 50 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft by 2028.
On May 30, 2022, Norwegian reached an agreement in principle with Boeing to acquire 50 737 MAX 8 jets with options for an additional 30 aircraft.
Norwegian’s recommitment to the Boeing 737 MAX comes after it had previously threatened to cancel a previous order for 92 of the type in June 2020, amid the global grounding of the aircraft model. However, the move never materialized. A month later, it even filed a lawsuit in which it accused Boeing of breaching its contract over the way the manufacturer handled the production and delivery of its aircraft.
The Norwegian low-cost carrier said the new planes will be delivered between 2025 and 2028, and that the delivery schedule coincides with the expiration of current leases. The airline estimated that following the agreement with the plane manufacturer, it could boost its equity by booking a net gain of up to $212 million (NOK 2 billion).
“The company intends to finance the outstanding balance of pre-delivery payments through positive cash flow from operating activities,” the Norwegian Air Shuttle statement read. “A significant share of the aircraft will be owned by the company, ensuring an optimized and balanced aircraft financing structure.”
As the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft is 14% more fuel-efficient compared to its previous generation jets, the carrier expects that the new joiners will help it to meet its target to reduce carbon emissions by 45% in 2030 compared to 2010.
“The overall terms achieved are attractive for Norwegian, and the deal fits well with our long-term fleet strategy and route program,” Norwegian chief executive officer (CEO) Geir Karlsen said. “It will enable us to serve our customers with modern fuel-efficient aircraft with the latest technology, significantly reducing our carbon footprint.”
In February 2022, Norwegian Air Shuttle announced plans to lease ten Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft from Irish lessor AerCap. At the time the carrier said it expects the jets to be delivered as early as the first half of 2023. Norwegian also said it planned to operate a total of 80 airliners by the summer of 2023.
The recent agreement with Boeing should be concluded by the end of June 2022, according to the statement.