Norwegian Air is selling two of its 787-9 Dreamliners to Italian leisure carrier Neos. One of the jets, which will now replace Neos Air’s 767s, bore Norwegian’s special UNICEF livery.
And so the downsizing to the “New Norwegian” has begun in earnest. As reported by Airways Magazine on Monday, the Norwegian budget carrier was set to reach an agreement to sell two of its 787-9 Dreamliners to Italian leisure airline Neos Air.
Meanwhile, in its latest update from the same day, Planespotters.net has already listed the two jets, previously registered with Norwegian Long Haul as LN-LNT and LN-LNZ, as on their way to Neos, so it is safe to assume that a deal has been reached.
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What will they be called?
The 787-9s will join Neos’ four Dreamliners of the same model. The carrier became the first in Italy to operate Boeing’s new plane when it took delivery of EI-NEO on December 25th, 2017. The other Dreamliners with Neos are registered as EI-NEU, EI-NEW, and EI-NUA (the latter meaning “new” in Irish). How many more languages have three-letter words for “new”?
The new arrivals will replace two of Neos’ three 767s that recently returned to the lessor. One of them has been reconfigured for cargo, while the other is currently stored at Marana Pinal Airpark in Arizona. The two 787s are also to be stored upon arrival in Italy, where Neos has its main base at Milano’s Malpensa Airport.
LN-LNT used to operate humanitarian missions
While the planes are likely to get back into the air quicker with Neos than if they had remained in Scandinavia, it feels a little extra sad as LN-LNT was one of Norwegian’s three UNICEF liveried planes. The airline has had a partnership with the humanitarian organization for 13 years. During that time, it has operated five humanitarian flights to the Central African Republic, Jordan, Mali, Yemen, and Chad under its “Fill A Plane” campaign.
Now, Norwegian is in need of more aid of its own. The struggling airline carried only 319,370 passengers in September and is reportedly in talks with the Norwegian Government over a potential nationalization. All of the carrier’s 37 Dreamliners are currently listed as parked. Most of them are at Oslo’s Gardemoen, but some are strewn across Northern Europe at Stockholm Arlanda, Copenhagen Kastrup, Stavanger Sola, and Glasgow Prestwick.
Italy’s charter carrier Neos
Neos Air began operations in 2002, at the time a joint venture between the Italian Alpitour and the German TUI Group (hence why the liveries may be somewhat reminiscent of one another). However, in 2004, Alpitour bought all of TUI Group’s shares, and Neos is no longer affiliated with the charter company.
Under normal circumstances, Neos operates flights from Italy to Asia, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and Mexico in North America. For shorter routes, it has six 737-800s and even has an order for three 737 MAXs.
What do you think Norwegian’s fleet will look like a year from now? Will the carrier even survive? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.