Ambitious startup airline Norse Atlantic is expected to unveil its 787 Dreamliner livery on Tuesday. Founder and CEO Bjørn Tore Larsen is fronting the media and promises an update on what the airline is up to. That update will also include details of the Dreamliner’s livery.
Fifteen Boeing Dreamliners are arriving at Norse Atlantic
Undeterred by the less than stellar history of low-cost transatlantic airlines, Norse Atlantic is eyeing flights between Europe and the United States later this year. But Norse Atlantic’s plans are considerably more developed than many other would-be airlines.
Earlier this month, the airline signed a deal with BOC Aviation to lease six Dreamliners. Those planes are expected to land towards the tail end of the year. That deal builds on an earlier leasing deal with AerCap six used 787-9s and three used 787-8s.
In total, 15 mid-sized Boeings are due to land at Norse Atlantic. They won’t all land in one week, but it is a lot of metal for a startup airline to juggle in a very uncertain flying environment.
Bjørn Tore Larsen didn’t deal with the challenges of starting up a low-cost transatlantic carrier when announcing the extra planes. Instead, like most CEOs spinning a good story, he focused on the potential positive points and friendly motherhood statements.
Norse Atlantic’s transatlantic travel prospects
But he did let slip one formidable challenge Norse Atlantic faces – the current state of transatlantic travel. Normally, it is one of the world’s more lucrative markets, with plenty of passengers to go around. While improving from April 2020 lows, the skies above the Atlantic are still relatively empty.
In the first week of August 2019, there were an average of 1,243 flights a day between the United States and Europe. Now, according to RadarBox.com data, an average of 599 flights a day operated last week.
While European Union countries and the United Kingdom are welcoming fully vaccinated travelers from the United States, the land of the free isn’t yet reciprocating.
Airline industry group IATA is faintly optimistic about transatlantic travel prospects. Accepting the northern summer season is a bust, actions like the EU opening up to vaccinated US travelers provides some hope. IATA’s Director-General, Willie Walsh, says international travel is nowhere near where it should be, but in the transatlantic market, it is at least moving in the right direction.
Excess luggage at Norse Atlantic
But it is not the booming travel environment a new airline might normally choose to launch in. Norse Atlantic is also taking off with a lot of excess luggage. The airline is shaping up as the successor to Norwegian. In the relatively small Norwegian aviation industry, many of the players behind Norse Atlantic had deep links with Norwegian.
Norwegian’s long-haul low-cost operation became mired in red ink last year as demand for international travel dried up. Norwegian survived, but as a shadow of its former self, and long-haul operations were abandoned.
Norse Atlantic might strike you as Norwegian 2.0 – with fresh livery. You might ask why many of the people who couldn’t make Norwegian’s long-haul operations work can now make Norse Atlantic’s long-haul operations work? After all, the only thing that is certain about transatlantic flying right now is the state of uncertainty. But as Tuesday’s livery reveal is sure to show, the planes at least will look pretty.