Norwegian looks to Asia for expansion

“When you are able to cut the cost in two, you can build your own volumes”

In a major interview with Reuters just published, Norwegian Air Shuttle CEO Bjoern Kjos predicts more airline bankruptcies in Europe – creating gaps that Norwegian will be ready to fill. As reported, the budget carrier recently placed one of Europe’s biggest ever aircraft orders, for 222 narrow-body aircraft – a move that some experts describe as risky given the global economic situation. Norwegian’s expansion to a fleet of more than 220 aircraft would make it a major rival for Ryanair, which operates about 275 aircraft.
He says: “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.”
However, Kjos, aged 65 and also a novelist, says that the airline is setting its sights on Asia with a view to creating new bases and putting the new planes there. “We foresee that if we’re able to fly with the Dreamliner, with an Asian crew, with our existing infrastructure, we should easily be able to operate the Dreamliner at 50 percent of the cost to our competitor,” he explains. “When you are able to cut the cost in two, you can build your own volumes.”
[pictured: Boeing 737 MAX8 in Norwegian livery; courtesy Norwegian]


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