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Novair A321neo (photo: Airbus)

Novair closes its base in Oslo

The Swedish charter airline is having to adapt to changes in the outbound business that are affecting the tour operator Apollo.

Sweden’s Novair Airlines is closing its base in Oslo in September, which has been in operation since 2000. In future, traffic is planned from its only remaining base at Stockholm Arlanda.

Nova AB, operating as Novair, mainly makes charter flights to the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands and long-haul holiday destinations for Apollo, one of the Nordic region’s biggest tour operators and a subsidiary of the travel giant Kuoni.

Novair itself is a subsidiary of REWE Group, a German tourism and retail cooperative based in Cologne, which also runs the DER Touristik tourism division, which in turn runs Kuoni and Apollo.

The charter carrier has a fleet of two Airbus A321neo aircraft with three more tabled for order.

The move comes as tour operators are having to rethink their business due to changes in consumer habits. TUI is also looking into altering its business and has closed its own base at Oslo Gardermoen.

Novair is now taking the same step and around 30 cabin crew will lose their jobs as a result. In 2016, it also closed its base in Gothenburg.

Changing habits
One of the current trends is that Apollo is having to buy more seats from scheduled airlines, in an effort to meet consumers’ demands for more flexibility.

Beatriz Rivera, communications officer at Apollo, tells travel news site “The aviation industry is changing and Nordic travellers are now demanding more choice and more flexibility than ever before.”

However, Apollo’s chief executive Anders Fred tells that there is still a future for traditional charter carriers like Novair.

“Yes, absolutely. It’s about refining the core business that we are good at and which the organisers demand. As I see it, a basis is needed for about one million passengers a year.”

But for this coming winter, Apollo has entered into an agreement with another company to fly Norwegian tourists on holiday.

“This summer, Novair will still fly daily for Apollo Norway, but for the winter SAS charter will take over Apollo’s winter production for the Canary Islands from Oslo. Next summer, Novair aircraft will be allocated around the Nordic countries by season and by need,” Rivera tells Hangar.

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