Norwegian to lease HiFly A340s if 787s are late

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Scandinavian budget carrier Norwegian has tentatively agreed to lease a pair of Airbus A340-300s to operate its first long-haul services.

The A340s, from Portuguese carrier HiFly, will be deployed if the introduction of Norwegian's Boeing 787 fleet is delayed - a possibility about which the carrier had already warned.

Norwegian had been intending to take the first 787 in April and open long-haul services in May. The carrier is planning to operate to New York and Bangkok.

It says the memorandum of understanding signed with HiFly covers a wet-lease of the A340s to ensure that the routes start on time. "HiFly has had a number of major European airlines on its customer list," says Norwegian.

Norwegian adds that "very few" passengers have taken up an offer to rearrange flights or accept a refund, in the wake of the 787 problems.