Miss Norwegian Air? The former CEO’s new low-cost transatlantic airline is eerily similar

Mar 16, 2021

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Bjørn Kjos, the former CEO of Norwegian Air, is about to try his hand at running an airline once again.

The bold entrepreneur is planning on launching his new venture, called Norse Atlantic Airways, with the first flight planned for December 2021.

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Kjos will take the reigns of Norse Atlantic, along with the help of investors and fellow Bjørns — Bjørn Tore Larsen and Bjørn Kise.

“I have thought for a long time that it is important to have a low-cost player across the Atlantic, and it was a bit in the cards that Norwegian should not continue,” Larsen said in an interview with Dagens Næringsliv.

At first glance, Norse Atlantic Airways looks like it will be picking up exactly where Norwegian left off when it announced in January it would be suspending its long-haul operations.

Related: 5 reasons we’ll miss Norwegian long haul

The Dreamliner — a loved aircraft by many a pilot — is the start-up’s aircraft of choice. Norse Atlantic intends to lease nine of Norwegian Air’s 787s, with three more in the pipeline, bringing the total to 12.

The aircraft is one of the most modern, fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft in the skies today.

There is no word of an official schedule or route network just yet. However, we do know that the airline is looking to fly its Dreamliners on routes between European hubs and the U.S., capitalizing on Norwegian’s recent departure from the transatlantic market.

Will Norse Atlantic Air succeed?

Given the history of the market, evidence would suggest a turbulent journey ahead for this latest long-haul, low-cost venture. However, Norse Atlantic has already secured significant investor interest — a total of $24 million of shares have been subscribed through the airline’s floating on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

Confidence in the new venture is likely to come from Kjos being in charge. After taking over what was known as Norwegian Air Shuttle in 2002, Kjos transformed the small regional airline into what was — pre-pandemic — Scandinavia’s second-largest airline.

“There is no doubt that [owning an airline] is risky business, just like shipping,” Larsen said. “Timing is incredibly important, and we believe it has never been better. This is the one opportunity to get in and take over a market position and get much cheaper flights than otherwise.”

Like many in the industry, those in charge of Norse Atlantic are hoping that the current vaccine rollout will go in their favor.

“This makes the economy different, and we can establish ourselves at low cost when people on both sides of the Atlantic have been vaccinated and start traveling again,” Larsen said.

Related: Country-by-country guide to where you can go if you’re vaccinated

Featured photo by Heiko Junge/Getty Images.

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