Norwegian is sticking to its expectations of increasing capacity around 12% this year despite operating three fewer aircraft than originally planned this summer.

The low-cost carrier had originally expected to operate 90 aircraft – excluding those of recent acquisition Wideroe – this summer. However, it had previously warned this could be impacted by delivery delays from Boeing and states today that it will have a fleet of only 87 in time for the summer peak. 


Source: InsectWorld/Shutterstock

Norwegian’s fleet currently features 737 Max 8s alongside older-variant 737s, all on lease

Speaking during a first-quarter results call on 25 April, Norwegian chief executive Geir Karlsen said: ”The production level at Boeing has come down significantly over the last couple of months. Deliveries from Boeing, from now into the summer, are very limited into the region.

”We took delivery of the second-last aircraft for the summer yesterday. We have one remaining delivery for the summer – that will take place in early June as it looks today and we are comfortable that will happen.”

Production of Boeing 737 Max jets is currently capped at 38 a month by US regulators amid quality-control challenges following January’s in-flight failure of an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9’s mid-cabin door-plug.

Norwegian, which has an order for 50 firm Max 8s and options on 30 more jets, says its upcoming deliveries are delayed 8-11 months.

”Going forward, we are concerned on the deliveries from Boeing,” says Karlsen. ”But the good thing in all this is we have today a fleet that is leased and we have redeliveries in the next years that we can extend.”

Karlsen says the airline has been extending some of its 737-800 leases since 2022 and will continue to do so. ”I think it will be at least two years before we see the production level at Boeing at the level they want it to be. We are looking into all scheduled redeliveries in the next three years to extend a lot of it.”

These mitigating measures are partly why Norwegian is sticking with its overall full-year guidance of lifting capacity by 12%.

Karlsen, also citing the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine issues impacting some Airbus A320neo-family jets, expects capacity constraint in the wider market to remain for a while. 

”It is not all bad in reality because it just means there will be less capacity flowing into the market, which will support the performance on yields and [unit revenues] that we are currently seeing,” he says.

Karlsen also reiterates Norwegian’s interest in the still-to-be certificated larger Max 10 variant. He had previously indicated it was evaluating the type for some of its optioned aircraft because of fresh information on its range. 

”We think the Max 10 is the right thing to go for and will probably use all the 30 options on buying Max 10,” he says. ”But for obvious reasons it will take a while for the first Max 10 to deliver from Boeing. So it’s a few years down the road.”