Norwegian Is Leasing More Planes to Cover for Stranded Dreamliners
Norwegian Air Shuttle is in the midst of replacing the engines on all 21 of its 787 Dreamliners. This is either part of a planned upgrade or due to Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine issues, depending on what source you ask.
While other airlines are also having to ground Dreamliners to inspect and/or replace the troublesome engines — including Air New Zealand, ANA, British Airways, Thai Airways, Virgin Atlantic and more — Norwegian is hit especially hard by the engine issues as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is its only long-haul aircraft.
So, the airline must now weigh its options, including wet-leasing aircraft from charter airlines or cancelling flights.
For the planned Los Angeles (LAX) to Milan (MXP) route scheduled to begin on June 16, Norwegian has decided to cancel the route entirely. On other routes, like Newark (EWR) to Paris Orly (ORY), Norwegian is cutting back its schedule, moving from daily to 6x weekly.
But, presumably Norwegian is only cancelling routes and frequencies that aren't performing well anyways. For other routes, it's wet-leasing aircraft from charter airlines — similar to what Primera Air had to do on its inaugural transatlantic flights. Norwegian has been using Hi-Fly aircraft for months now on some routes. Now, we are learning of two new wet leases that Norwegian is utilizing on some routes:
For its Newark (EWR) to Paris Orly (ORY) route, Norwegian will be swapping in a 20-year old EuroAtlantic Airways Boeing 777-200. Through September 14, EuroAtlantic will be operating six flights per week before increasing to once daily starting on September 15. This replaces the Boeing 787-9 that Norwegian previously sold on this route. The schedule for this flight is:
- DY7191 Paris Orly (ORY) 8:30pm Departure ⇒ Newark (EWR) 10:30pm Arrival — daily except Wednesday
- DY7192 Newark (EWR) 12:30am Departure ⇒ Paris Orly (ORY) 1:35pm Arrival — daily except Thursday
This two-class aircraft is arranged 2-3-2 across in premium economy, where legroom is reportedly a spacious 50 inches. However, the seating arrangement loaded in Norwegian's seat map differs from EuroAtlantic's website. Instead of 30 "business class" seats, Norwegian's map only shows 24 premium economy seats.
Economy is arranged 3-3-3 for most of the cabin, except for 2-3-2 arrangement in the last two rows. The seats are reportedly arranged with 32 inches of pitch. One thing that's for sure, due to the 777's wider fuselage, these 3-3-3 arranged seats will have more seat width than Norwegian's 3-3-3 arranged Dreamliners. However, the only photo EuroAtlantic Airways shares of its economy class product doesn't look great:
According to EuroAtlantic Airways' website, the premium economy seats have "in-seat audio-video" and economy class seats have "individual seat back video." The system is supposedly stocked with "4 films, 3 soap operas and 12 music channels" — which is going to be far less than what you'd find on Norwegian's new aircraft.
On Norwegian's Newark (EWR) to Rome (FCO) route, Norwegian is relying on a 17-year old Privilege Style Boeing 777-200. Starting on May 22, this former Singapore Airlines 777 will operate 6x weekly flights for Norwegian through September 14. This replaces the Boeing 787-8 that Norwegian currently operates on this route. Norwegian will resume Boeing 787-8 daily operations beginning September 15. The schedule for this flight is:
- DY7023 Rome (FCO) 6:05pm Departure ⇒ Newark (EWR) 9:25pm Arrival — daily except Tuesday
- DY7024 Newark (EWR) 11:30pm Departure ⇒ Rome (FCO) 1:40pm Arrival — daily except Tuesday
Norwegian premium economy passengers are going end up with a lot more space on this leased aircraft. Instead of a 2-3-2 arrangement on a 216-inch wide Dreamliner, premium economy passengers will fly in a 2-2-2 arrangement on a 244-inch wide 777. Economy passengers will also get more space due to the 3-3-3 arrangement in economy. The final two rows of economy are arranged 2-3-2.
Unfortunately, Privilege Style doesn't upload photos of its interior or provide details of seat pitch or amenities. Photos uploaded to Spanish website Fly News of Privilege Style 777 business class and economy class shows an angle-flat seat for in business class and a dated economy seat with a small entertainment system in economy.