ARENDAL (E24): The team at Norse Atlantic is working extensively to get everything ready before first departure sometime next spring or summer. The founder believes that the company is flying the planes as planned and that it does not have to cooperate with other airlines right away.
We are 100% safe on board. It is delivered to us with a so-called C-check complete – both the aircraft and engine are modernized and 100 per cent checked, says Björn Toure Larsen, founder and CEO of Norse Atlantic Airways.
Arendal’s “Flight King” was one of the self-described participants during this year’s Arendal Week.
The man behind OSM Group and the flight crew for OSM Aviation launched their new venture earlier this year: long-haul Norse Atlantic Airways.
The company is picking up the challenge after a long-distance Norwegian investment, which ended abruptly during the Corona pandemic.
This summer, it became clear that Norse Atlantic had signed lease agreements for 15 Dreamliner aircraft, an aircraft that was previously part of Norway’s long-haul fleet.
Larsen is not worried that he will demand that the planes be brought back into operation. The Norwegian Dreamliner has been on the ground outside scheduled traffic since the pandemic hit in March of last year.
So you don’t have any risk associated with the cost of getting planes back into the air?
— That risk rests with the leasing companies and the leasing companies haven’t let the planes pass, says Larsen with reference to “halo parking.”
Norse Atlantic is preparing to start work in the first half of next year
It might start in Norway
In addition to the increased number of aircraft, it also became known this summer that the start date for the first flight was pushed back from early 2021/22 to sometime between Easter and early summer 2022 – to adapt to the pandemic.
Up to the start, there is still a lot of work left.
The company plans to have 1,600 employees next summer and by that time the company should have an Air Operator (AOC – Air Operator Certification) in Norway and the UK.
In addition, ticketing systems, schedules, and IT systems must be in place, as well as the need to recover the aircraft themselves.
You have indicated that you will apply for an Airline and Operating License (AOC) in both Norway and the UK, with routes from both there and other European countries to the US. Where do you start?
– Probably from Norway. There we actually submitted the AOC application and finished building an organization. In the UK, we’re in the process right away, says Larsen and continues:
– Between Europe (EU and EEA countries, journal.anm.) and the USA, we want to travel with the Norwegian AOC. From the UK we will fly with a British license due to Brexit.
In conversation with anonymous partners
Unlike traditional network companies, Norse Atlantic does not have its own short-distance routes that can feed passengers on the company’s long-distance routes.
At the time, Norwegian linked both its own lines and partner companies to its far-reaching network.
On the European side, both Norwegian and EasyJet aircraft helped fill long-haul aircraft before heading to the United States.
Prior to the Corona pandemic, the Norwegian also worked to establish a partnership with American JetBlue, which would feed passengers to Norwegians from American domestic routes.
– Do you need these nutrition conventions to make the Scandinavians roam?
– We don’t count on him. Our basic model, Larsen says, is to fill the planes ourselves, from large concourse areas with enough passengers to the routes we will be flying:
– but we think it’s an advantage with feed agreements with some players, but it won’t be a classic hub and spoke network. It is very complicated.
The Scandinavian founders as well as Scandinavian investor Bjørn Kjos spoke of Norwegian as a potential partner for Norse.
– Are you in dialogue with other airlines such as Norwegian, EasyJet and JetBlue now?
– We have not made any agreements, but we are in talks with specific players. “We will enter into agreements when we strengthen the network that we will be working on,” Larsen says.
– Can be a small climb on “thin tracks”
Aviation analyst Hans Jørgen Elnæs says he believes Norse is primarily investing in a point-to-point strategy as a company.
There are a few low-cost airlines that participate in the feeder traffic. Elnæs says there are also small risks with the feeding process, such as passenger and baggage delays, which leads to additional costs when they occur.
– On the other hand, on “thin” roads, there may be a small upside with the nutrition conventions of a company like Norse, he continues.
When it comes to how hard it will be to get the Dreamliner and Rolls-Royce engines back in action, Elnæs thinks it will go just fine.
Norwegian and other airlines have struggled for years with Trent 1000 engines from the British manufacturer.
– Rolls-Royce has corrected errors related to these engines and there should be no other known problems with these RR Trent 1000 engines, says Elnæs and continues:
Aircraft manufacturers, engine manufacturers, and suppliers of Dreamliners and other commercial aircraft have established routine maintenance procedures when aircraft have been on the ground for an extended period, and this also applies before aircraft can be returned to commercial operation.
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If Norse Atlantic manages what its boss says, it can be a fun sharing trip
He adds that both the US and European Civil Aviation Authority have set strict requirements for aircraft that have been grounded and that they will return to service.
The same goes for pilots who haven’t flown in a while. The leasing companies follow the letter’s technical requirements and I don’t see any challenges with the leasing companies being responsible for the aircraft that Norse can technically go into commercial operation, Elnæs says and adds:
– Norse saves big on the fact that leasing companies are responsible for the C checks and bear the costs.
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