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Norwegian to axe Dreamliners, end long-haul flights

written by Hannah Dowling | January 18, 2021

A Boeing 787 in Norwegian livery (Norwegian)

Norwegian Air has announced it will no longer perform its famed long-haul budget routes, with sources suggesting the airline will axe all 37 of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners as the company navigates out of insolvency.

The airline, which filed for bankruptcy protections in November 2020, has said it will no longer be performing low-cost intercontinental flights between the US and Europe, and will instead focus its efforts in Europe.

As such, the airline no longer has need for its 37, largely near-new 787 Dreamliners, most of which have been in storage for a year or more, according to sources close to the matter.

Last month, the airline’s parent company, Norwegian Air Shuttle, officially proposed its emergency plan to rescue the struggling carrier through the downsizing of its fleet, a new debt-for equity swap, and a rights issue of up to $453 million.

The airline’s current goal is to service its Nordic and European network with 50 narrow-bodied Boeing aircraft, and hopes to increase this figure to 70 aircraft in 2022.

Even at the full 70 aircraft, this would still see the airline reduce its total, currently all-Boeing fleet, by half.

Industry analysts have suggested the airline will continue to face an uphill battle even in the aftermath of these cost-cutting measures, as the new, leaner Norwegian will be in direct competition with European low-cost giant Ryanair.


Analysts also note that selling off aircraft, particularly long-haul wide-bodies like the Dreamliner, will be near impossible in the near-term COVID environment, though stated luckily many of Norwegian’s 787s are leased.

According to Forbes, the dumping of the 787 by Norwegian, among other airlines, will largely cause a new headache for Boeing, which has already faced years of turbulence.

Airlines attempting to free up cash amid the COVID-induced plummet in long-haul travel are endeavouring to offload their large, unprofitable widebodies, often in new or near-new condition, which will see Boeing take a hit on its new widebody sales.

Boeing currently has around 60 new and undelivered 787 Dreamliners in its backlog.


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