Norwegian Airline To Initiate Over-The-Pole Boeing 787 Flights To Ontario Next Year

Norse Atlantic Airlines, a Norwegian start-up headquartered in Arendal, Norway launched in March that will begin operations next summer, will include an Oslo-to-Los Angeles route in its flights to the United States.
Described as the international flight replacement of Norwegian Airlines, which was forced into bankruptcy in 2020 and which discontinued its trans-Atlantic flights as an element of its recovery plan, Norse Atlantic ASA is a publicly traded company listed on the Euronext Growth Exchange in Oslo, Norway. 53-year-old Bjørn Tore Larsen, is the airline’s founder, CEO, and major shareholder. He is seeking to obtain for Norse Atlantic a Norwegian air operator’s certificate, which is on a trajectory to be granted by November, as well as a British air operator’s certificate the company hopes to have secured by January or February.
“Inspired by the Norsemen who traveled and explored the world with their state-of-the art longships, Norse Atlantic Airways will give people the opportunity to explore other continents by offering affordable flights on board modern and more environmentally friendly Boeing 787 Dreamliners,” Larsen said. “Norse Atlantic Airways will serve the intercontinental market with fuel-efficient planes. It will among other destinations serve New York, Florida, Paris, London and Oslo.”
It is anticipated that by summer 2022, Norse will have 1,600 employees.
At present, Norse has acquired 18 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, In March, the company signed lease agreements with affiliates of AerCap Holdings NV for a 12-year lease of six Boeing 787-9s and an eight-year lease of three Boeing 787-8 aircraft. The Company anticipates taking delivery of the first of those nine aircraft no later than the first week of December 2021, with the delivery of the remaining aircraft no later than the end of March 2022. In August, it entered into a 16-year lease of six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners from BOC Aviation Limited. Norse Airlines expects to take delivery of the aircraft in December 2021. The company is in the end stages of purchasing three 787-9s owned by Norwegian Airlines that were grounded in March 2020 due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions and then moth-balled shortly thereafter as a consequence of that airline’s bankruptcy.
The berthing of Norse Atlantic Airlines at Ontario International Airport will represent an historic step, as the airline will be the first to offer regularly scheduled flights into Ontario from Europe.
There have been occasional flights from and to Ontario via European destinations and points of departure, which were generally emergency landings, specialty flights carrying dignitaries or promotional flights such as that of the Concorde from London to Ontario and back in the 1980s. There was some discussion of regular Concorde flights to and from Ontario, but that did not come about after the Los Angeles Department of Airports Board of Commissioners, which then oversaw operations at Ontario Airport, bowed to a request by the Ontario City Council, which at that time had unanimously voted to prevent the Concorde from staging out of Ontario because its engines were too loud.
In September Norse Atlantic Airways filed an application with the Federal Aviation Administration for authorization to fly from Oslo Airport, located some 22 miles northeast of Oslo in Gardermoen, initially to three destinations in the United States – Ontario International Airport, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport in Florida and Stewart International Airport in Orange County, New York, roughly 60 miles from New York City.
“We strongly believe that there is a need for a new and innovative airline serving the low-cost intercontinental market with modern, more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient aircraft as the world gradually reopens,” Larsen said. “Our plans are on track and operations will commence when travel restrictions are lifted and demand for transatlantic travel is back. Based on the current situation, we anticipate that all our Dreamliners will be flying customers between Europe and the U.S. next summer. We will launch our ticket sales approximately three months prior to first flight and will offer exciting destinations that have proven to be attractive.”
The addition of Norse Atlantic to the airlines now functioning out of Ontario International Airport will lend greater credibility to the aerodrome’s billing as an international airport.
At present, the airport’s foreign destination smorgasbord is rather limited.
China Airlines and Volaris offer direct flights to Taiwan and Mexico, respectively, while AeroMexico has discontinued its previous regular connections to and from Ontario, although there are still some codeshare flights into Ontario operated by other airlines that use the AeroMexico name. Multiple connection flights to foreign destinations from Ontario are available.
Ontario, like virtually all other airports, took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, 5,583,732 passengers came through its gates. In 2020, that number had dwindled to 2,538,482.
Airport officials, however, reported that in July of this year, ridership at the airport increased to roughly 478,000 passengers, which was just about 97 percent of the 493,000 passengers that flew into and out of the airport in July 2019, prior to the coronavirus crisis.
-Mark Gutglueck

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