6 FEBRUARY 2012
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Low-cost airline Norwegian has staggered the airline industry with the largest purchase of aircraft in European history. The order consists of: 22 Boeing 737-800, 100 Boeing 737-Max8 and an option for another 100 Max8, a commitment for 100 Airbus A320 plus options for 50 Airbus A320neo. Presently the airline, founded in 1993, operates an all Boeing fleet of 62 737s. On order are six Boeing 787s, with the first due 2013.
Speculation is rife as to why the North Europe-based carrier requires this large number of aircraft. Its typical leisure destinations are in Southern Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East, and are served once a day or less. Norwegian's longest route is from Oslo to Dubai, a distance of 3,200 miles, which is also the second longest scheduled 737 route in the world.
CEO Bjoern Kjos has predicted more airline collapses in Europe this year and said the airline stood ready to plug the gaps.
"I think there will be lots of opportunities in Europe in 2012 because there are too many airlines that have way too old fleets to be profitable with the oil prices of today," said Kjos, a former fighter pilot and mystery novel writer. www.norwegian.no
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