Norwegian: from Fokker 50's to Dreamliners

The Norwegian "low cost" airline Norwegian, just announced that the airline has made the biggest order of airplanes in Europe ever. No less than 222 planes was the order, 122 from Boeing and 100 from Airbus. Boeing is to deliver 22 Boeing 737-800's and, when they're ready for delivery, 100 737-MAX8. The latter will be the next generation of the -800 model.

Some were surprised that Norwegian also ordered planes from Airbus, because fleet commonality is seen as a key factor when it comes to keeping costs down. But, by playing Boeing and Airbus up against each other, Norwegian was able to get a very good deal from both. From Airbus, Norwegian will get the A320 NEO when this model is ready for the market.

(Picture borrowed from http://www.airsalvage.co.uk/.)

From the start with Boeing 737's in 2002, Norwegian has grown to be one of the biggest airlines in Europe, and they have one of the biggest fleets of Boeing 737 around. Their charismatic CEO Bjorn Kjos also have ambitions when it comes to lang haul flying, so Norwegian has ordered 5 Dreamliners to be delivered in 2013. For starters, routes to New York and Bangkok has been planned.

The very beginning of this successful airline in 1993, was small scale. With only a few Fokker 50's they operated routes in Western Norway for Braathens SAFE, once a big competitor to Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). In 2002 Braathens was bought by SAS, and this made the start for the fierce competition between Norwegian and SAS ever since. It has been marvelous to follow Norwegians growth, and we look forward to see the Dreamliner in Norwegian's rather odd livery.

The Dreamliner is the latest technology and will be seen in the skies for 20-30 years (maybe more) from its delivery. Above I have included a picture that will set some perspective to the development in aviation technology. The work horse of early Norwegian (then Norwegian Air Shuttle), the Fokker 50. A sad ending for a excellent airplane of its time...


SAS' subsidiary Blue1 - fleet development

(Picture borrowed from Wikipedia.)
Finnish airline Blue1 is the spearhead of SAS into the Finnish market. The company has struggled to get the operation of the subsidiary to make a profit. I guess focus has been on taking market shares in the finnish market, from market leader Finnair. Profit will hopefully come later. Competition int the Finnish market has become even fiercer with the entry of Norwegian, and with Finnair's cooperation with Flybe, which has resulted in Flybe Nordic.

Blue1 was formed in 1988 under the name Air Botnia, and was acquired by SAS in 1998. The fleet for a long time carried the same livery as the fleet of SAS, but this was altered when the company's name was changed ​​into Blue1. Since the start of the company a lot of different airplanes has come and gone. As far as I know the company has operated the Cessna 402, Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante, Jetstream 31, SAAB 340, Fokker F28-4000, SAAB 2000, Avro RJ100MD90 and now lastly the Boeing 717.

The latter type of aircraft will be the only one company, in line with SAS 'desire to cut down on the number of different aircraft types in the company. On the other hand, each plane actually has its own color scheme (small variations on a common theme), so some kind of variation remains for the planespotters!

In the video below you can check out the former airplanes of Blue1, the Avro RJ100 and the MD90.

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