Norse Atlantic Signals Slow Winter

The carrier is evaluating a pared down winter schedule amid decreasing demand.

Credit: Norse Atlantic Airways

Long-haul LCC Norse Atlantic Airways said it will be “cautious” with its schedule for the upcoming winter season, citing challenging conditions for the airline industry.  

The Norwegian start-up airline, which launched revenue service in June with Boeing 787-9 transatlantic flights, said Sept. 23 that it had enjoyed good trading conditions over the summer season, but that several external factors, notably rising inflation levels in most countries and high fuel prices, pose potential problems for winter season demand.   

The post-COVID-19 pent-up demand for travel, so apparent over the summer, is starting to slow down, according to the airline.   

“Norse will be cautious with regards to its winter 2022 program and is continuously evaluating all routes,” the airline said in a statement. “The company is well positioned to take a careful approach to activating more aircraft as it continues to enjoy the benefits of flexible aircraft lease terms, including power by the hour and low lease rates.”   

Norse operates service from Oslo (OSL), London Gatwick (LGW) and Berlin (BER) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Orlando (MCO) in Florida, as well as to New York Kennedy (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX). “Norse Atlantic will continue to evaluate winter 2022 routes in line with demand and profitability,” CEO Bjorn Tore Larsen said, noting the winter schedule is still not firmed.  

Aviation Week Network understands some current routes are likely to have frequencies reduced over the winter season, while suspended routes are also a possibility.  

Load factor for June was 82%, rising to 86% in July, the peak European vacation period. This dropped to 69% in August, mainly linked to the launch of new routes in the middle of that month. Since Norse’s first flight in June, it has achieved an aggregate load factor of 75% to the end of August.   

The carrier has agreed to connectivity partnerships with Norwegian, easyJet and Spirit Airlines.

Norse has a fleet of 13 leased 787-9 aircraft in a two-class configuration. Four are at present sub-leased to Spanish carrier Air Europa. Norse’s eventual full fleet will be comprised of 15 787-9 aircraft.