Newly restructured LCC Norwegian and regional airline Widerøe have signed a letter of intent that will see the compatriot carriers cooperate in Norway’s domestic market and onward international flights.
The move includes an interline agreement to provide “a better service to passengers and create synergies and operational efficiencies.”
“In many ways, this is an historic agreement bringing two Norwegian airlines together,” Norwegian CEO Geir Karlsen said. “A lot of detail is still being worked on but it’s clear from the past months’ discussions with Widerøe that there are many areas we both have a common interest to collaborate on.”
Widerøe’s CEO Stein Nilsen added that the combination of its network along the coast and in northern Norway and Norwegian’s European route network would “create many new travel opportunities.”
“We still have a way to go before the agreement is final, but we work well together and have a common goal that this should be implemented as quickly as possible,” Nilsen said.
In Norway’s domestic market, Norwegian is the largest operator with a capacity share of about 33%, OAG Schedules Analyser data shows. SAS, which last week filed for bankruptcy protection in the US, is the second-largest carrier, accounting for some 32% of all domestic departure seats, while Widerøe is the third largest on 29%.
Analysis of the OAG data reveals that Widerøe offers 92 domestic routes in Norway, connecting many smaller communities that rely on air service. Norwegian has a network of 19 domestic routes and 114 international services from Norway.
Speaking in May at Routes Europe 2022 in Bergen, Geir Karlsen said Norwegian is planning to rapidly grow from 70 to 100 aircraft over the coming two years and the LCC has since firmed an order with Boeing for 50 737-8s.