Norwegian long-haul budget carrier Norse Atlantic Airways (Norse) has reported that its forward bookings are up 77% year-on-year so far in January 2024. The strong performance comes as the carrier undertakes a strategic review and cuts frequencies on low-demand routes to cut costs.
Norse carried 79,240 passengers in December 2023 and operated 343 flights. This number included 22 charter flights, including one notable trip to Antarctica as reported by AeroTime.
The airline saw an improved average load factor of 71% for December 2023, an increase of 10 percentage points over the same month in 2022.
“December represented a busy month for Norse as passenger demand increased in line with the holiday season while we continued our robust operational performance throughout the month with zero cancellations,” said Norse’s Founder and Chief Executive Bjorn Tore Larsen. “We are also pleased to have completed 22 charter flights during December which highlights the continued focus on the efficient use of our fleet during the quieter winter months.
“During December we launched sales from New York to Athens with flights to commence in May 2024, we also released for sale the first wave of flights across our network running up to the end of the winter 2025 season, furthermore, forward bookings since 1 January 2024 are 77% higher than the same period last year.”
“Additionally, we have reduced the frequencies of certain low-demand routes in the seasons ahead to ensure that our focus remains on operating a profitable network. We continue to conduct the ongoing strategic review of the business as previously announced and will update once concluded,” he added.
In November 2023, the airline’s board appointed strategic advisors from UK firm Seabury Securities following financial interest in Norse Atlantic expressed by two airlines seeking to explore “opportunities” with the company.
Before the appointment, Norse Atlantic said: “It is the company’s clear impression from these discussions that the company’s business, market position, and assets are perceived as attractive, and that the company may be well positioned to capitalize on this through industrial or strategic actions.”
Norse Atlantic Airways
Norse has previously reported that it remains hopeful that 2024 will mark its first year of profitable operations. 2023 was the airline’s first full operating year, the period saw investment in training and scaling of its network. However, with an agreed business model in place, the carrier is expecting to be in the black for 2024.
Larsen has said that he believes in growing the airline slowly to avoid burnout, as was seen with the low-cost long-haul arm of Norwegian Air before the pandemic.
Norse has a current fleet of 15 leased Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners although it currently only operates 10 on its scheduled network, offering the other five for charters. The carrier will add two additional aircraft this year, with the plan for the airline being a further 20% increase in 2025.
Launched in June 2022 with flights from Oslo to New York after being established the previous year, Norse Atlantic has developed presences at London-Gatwick (LGW), Rome (FCO), and Paris (CDG) offering a network of low-fare transatlantic services, with Athens to follow in 2024.
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