Norse Atlantic Plans To Be The World’s Lowest Carbon Emitting Airline

Norwegian long-haul startup airline Norse Atlantic Airways has big plans afoot in terms of its operational sustainability. Set to commence operations next year, the carrier is aiming to be a world leader when it comes to carbon emissions per passenger-kilometer.

Norse Atlantic Airways, Branding, Livery
Norse Atlantic will benefit from high-density seating configurations. Photo: Norse Atlantic

A benchmark for low emissions

Norse Atlantic is a startup airline based in Arendal, Norway. The carrier hopes to succeed where Norwegian Air failed, by making low-cost long-haul work. The transatlantic corridor will be a key market for the airline. Indeed, its first three routes from Oslo will serve US destinations, namely Fort Lauderdale, New York (Stewart), and Los Angeles (Ontario).

Flying a young fleet of three Boeing 787-8s and 12 787-9s, according to ATDB.aero, Norse Atlantic plans to become a world leader in terms of carbon emissions. Speaking on a panel last week at the World Aviation Festival in London, Norse Atlantic’s Chief Commercial Officer, Andrew Hodges, explained the reasoning behind this aspiration. He stated that:

The Dreamliner is a fantastic aircraft. And actually, given the configuration and the seating density that we would be operating, I think we will be the world’s lowest carbon emitting airline per passenger-kilometer. And that also reflects in the lowest unit costs that we’ll be able to operate.”

Norse Atlantic Airways, Branding, Livery
Norse Atlantic will fly two variants of the Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliner.’ Photo: Norse Atlantic Airways

Higher-density than other operators

By filling its Boeing 787s with more seats than other Dreamliner operators, Norse Atlantic will benefit statistically from lower emissions per passenger and, therefore, per passenger-kilometer. Examining the configurational differences between airlines, Hodges adds that:

If you compare the seating density of our Dreamliner aircraft, with 338 seats, compared with 220 or 230 perhaps for a legacy operator with the same aircraft. That statistical reduction will significantly lower unit costs.”

Of course, Norse Atlantic will only be able to truly benefit from this per-seat reduction if it is able to fill its aircraft. Whether it will succeed remains to be seen. The high-density layout will likely mean that premium offerings are at a minimum. However, as the world begins to open up, it may find enough demand from the low-cost market to make it work.

Norse Atlantic's initial three US routes
Norse Atlantic filed for its first three routes in September. Image: GCMap.

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Taking to the skies next Spring

As it happens, it may not be too long before we get to see whether Norse Atlantic’s low-cost long-haul gamble will pay off. Indeed, Hodges explained that the airline is targeting Spring 2022 for the commencement of its operations. He added further that:

We’re going through the final formalities of the regulatory clearances we need, but also the fantastic thing is that we actually have a very flexible cost base. (…) We can actually be quite disciplined about when is the right moment to launch, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on things, and when the moment is right, well, we’ll be in the air.”

What do you make of Norse Atlantic’s plans? Will you be excited to see this startup take to the skies next year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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