Sunday, May 21, 2017

NEW AIRLINE PLANS: Norwegian Air Argentina announces Fleet and Operational Plans

Norwegian Air Argentina presented its business plan to the Argentine ANAC aviation authority on March 31 in solicitation of an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) to enable it to participate in the next round of Argentine public route hearings, currently scheduled for June or July.    

The new LCC plans to eventually invest US$ 3.4 billion (3,400 million) in its Argentine operation employing between 3,000-3,500 staff operating 70 aircraft (737-800's and 787's) on 146 domestic and international routes from crew/aircraft bases in Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE), Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP), Cordoba (COR), and Mendoza (MDZ).  

The deployment of aircraft would happen in stages:

* 6 737-800 in service at the start of operations in late 2017 / early 2018
* 11 737-800 + 4 787 - 12 months after the start of service           
* 25 737-800 + 10 787 - 30 months after start-up
* 50 737-800 + 20 787 - 5-8 years after start-up

The airline would fly the main Argentine domestic routes, such as Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) to Cordoba (COR), Mendoza (MDZ) and Salta (SLA), claiming that its services would be more complementary than competitive with Aerolineas Argentinas, Austral and LATAM Argentina with most of its traffic coming from new passengers stimulated to travel by fares much lower than those currently available in these markets. 

These domestic routes would also feed Norwegian Air Argentina's proposed international routes from Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) to London Gatwick (LGW) (projected to start in December 2017), Barcelona (BCN), and even Oslo (OSL), Stockholm (STO) and Copenhagen (CPH).         

Norwegian Air Argentina forecasts that it will carry approx. 18.2 million passengers on up to 146 routes to 90 destinations in 25 countries once it reaches its projected service levels by around 2025-2026.  It claims that 55,000-60,000 indirect jobs would be created in related travel services, such as hotels, restaurants, ground transportation, shopping, etc.    

Following up on its application to the ANAC, the carrier announced in early May that it was hiring administrative staff immediately with the recruitment of flight crews to start in September.  

The carrier is expected to easily qualify for its AOC due to the parent company's size and credibility.  The Norwegian Air Group had US$ 3.1 billion (3,100 million) revenue in 2016 with 24.7 million passengers carried and 126 aircraft in service. It is the third-largest LCC in Europe and sixth-largest in the world.  It has 250 aircraft on order with Boeing and is the only airline to have proposed new service in Argentina that has the capability to operate to both Europe and the United States as well as Argentine domestic service. 


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