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Ex-Norwegian Air boss plots new low cost long-haul start-up

The former boss of Norwegian Air is backing a new start-up carrier set to revive low cost transatlantic routes.

Bjorn Kjos, founder and former chief executive of Norwegian Air who stood down two years ago, holds a 15% stake in newcomer Norse Atlantic Airways.

The budget airline plans to fly to US destinations such as New York, Los Angeles and Miami from European cities including London, Paris and Oslo from December.

It has raised $24 million from investors and plans a stock market listing in Oslo net month, claiming the investor community has already expressed “great interest” in the new airline.

Norse Atlantic Airways aims to deploy nine leased Boeing 787 Dreamliners – the same type used on transatlantic flights by Norwegian Air before it withdrew from long-haul operations in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Norwegian Air, once the third largest carrier at Gatwick, has since been running a skeleton fleet on domestic routes in Norway as it seeks a financial restructuring.

Norse Atlantic Airways is majority owned by Bjorn Tore Larsen, a co-founder of staffing company OSM Aviation.

Larsen, the new carrier’s chief executive, said: “We now have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a brand new airline from scratch.

“As the world reopens, the public needs an innovative, low-cost intercontinental airline with modern, more environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient aircraft.

“We have industry knowledge and have secured modern Dreamliners at very good terms.”

He added: “International tourism has been hit hard by the pandemic, and the market for intercontinental is currently almost gone.

“But a new era is coming as the global vaccine programme is completed.

“People will once again want to go on vacation, visit friends and family, and travel for business.

“Norse Atlantic Airways will be there to offer attractive and affordable flights to the leisure traveller and the cost-conscious business traveller.”

OSM Aviation has started recruiting cabin crew to work on the transatlantic flights.

Norse Atlantic Airways has set up a website at flynorse.com outlining its plans.

It says: “The airline will offer routes that have already proved to be popular for leisure and business travellers alike, including destinations such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Paris and Oslo.

“More routes and destinations will be offered in line with customer demand.

“Tickets are expected to be available for sale in fall 2021 and the first flight is expected to take off in December 2021.”

The website adds: “Norse Atlantic Airways will focus its efforts on being low-fare and low-cost with a lean management team and administration and smart collaboration with external partners.

“Its long-haul flights aboard new aircraft with high cabin utilisation will help keep costs down. For our customers, that means attractive offerings at low fares.”

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