Norse considers approaches from potential airline investors

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November is proving to be a busy month for Norse Atlantic Airways. The airline recently published improved performance results for October 2023. The company also completed a $55 million fundraising effort aimed at giving it a cash reserve to enable it to pay key suppliers during the winter downturn. 

Now, the carrier has announced it has been approached by two larger airlines interested in buying a minority stake in the carrier. 

Speaking to Bloomberg earlier this month, Norse Chief Executive Officer Bjorn Tore Larsen said that the airline was evaluating potential partnerships that could give a financial boost to the company’s low-cost, long-haul business plan. Larsen added that Norse had appointed advisers after being approached by potential airline investors. 

Any alliance could potentially assist the transatlantic newcomer to reduce its costs and increase revenues over the off-peak winter period. A partnership with another strategic partner could also provide valuable access to that partner’s network and passenger base. 

While Larsen would not identify the airlines that had expressed an interest in Norse to Bloomberg, he was able to divulge that one was a major airline, while the other was a medium-sized carrier. He added that both were cash-rich. 

“A partnership with Norse would be of interest to some of the big players, not necessarily only in Europe, but elsewhere as well,” Larsen added.  

A period of consolidation is currently sweeping across the European airline landscape. Stronger, cash-rich airlines are seeking opportunities to increase their presence in new markets through mergers, takeovers and strategic alliances. The targets of such manoeuvring seem to be the carriers whose balance sheets and passenger numbers were most affected by the travel downturn during the pandemic.  

Lufthansa recently invested in Italy’s newest airline, ITA Airways, while Air France-KLM is on track to take a 25% share in Scandinavian airline SAS. Further to the west, TAP Portugal is due to be privatised in the coming months, with several larger airlines having expressed an interest in taking a stake, while IAG (owner of British Airways) is awaiting EU regulatory approval to take an 80% share in Spanish carrier, Air Europa.     

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