Norse Atlantic Airways has turned in a $135 million operating loss for its first full year since start-up, but insists it sees a “clear path to profitability” year-round.

The Scandinavian long-haul budget carrier, which commenced flights in June 2022, made a net loss of $168 million on revenues of $439 million in the 12 months to 31 December 2023.

Norse states, however, that sales for the summer 2024 season are up by around 80% compared with last year, while charter revenue booked and under discussion “far exceeds” that previously achieved.

Chief executive Bjorn Tore Larsen says the airline has generated “strong” unit-cost numbers and demonstrated it can “drive ancillary sales”.

The carrier states that the unit-cost figures are “proving that long-haul low-cost is working”.

Norse 787-c-Norse Atlantic

Source: Norse Atlantic Airways

Norse has 15 787s, all of which have been generating revenues since mid-2023

Norse experienced a “heavy increase” in production over the second half of the year, compared with the “limited activity” of the first.

Its entire fleet of 15 Boeing 787s has been generating revenues since 1 July – five of the jets are subleased to other carriers – and the airline achieved its first three-month net profit in the third quarter.

“When planning ahead for the winter and summer seasons in 2024 Norse has capitalised on lessons learned in 2023,” says Larsen.

He says the airline will prioritise “careful” route selection and look to capture “unreleased fare potential”, while increasing load factor. The carrier aims to develop its cargo business and focus on charter services in the winter to balance seasonal fluctuations in activity.

Norse says there are “positive signs” in its operation for this year.

It is continuing a strategic review to assess possible future avenues, including commercial partnerships and external investment, having undergone a round of fundraising over the winter.

“Several options are being pursued,” it says. “Not all options are mutually exclusive and, therefore, potentially more than one initiative could be led into a final closing.”