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Norwegian 'very interested' in Boeing NMA: CEO

Norwegian is "very interested" in Boeing's proposed New Midsize Airplane design, says chief executive Bjorn Kjos.

"We're looking at the new middle-of-the-market aircraft," he says in an interview ahead of the delivery of the Oslo-based carrier's first Boeing 737 Max in Seattle on 28 June. "That's very interesting."

The airframer unveiled the initial design of the NMA, also called the 797 by some, at the Paris air show earlier in June. The aircraft would carry 200 to 270 passengers, have a range of 5,000nm and be equipped with engines with 40,000 to 50,000lb of thrust.

Norwegian provided Boeing with its "wishes" in terms of specifications and performance of the NMA, says Kjos. However, it has not discussed the possibility of ordering the aircraft with the airframer yet.

Kjos says Norwegian is "highly likely" more interested in the NMA than it is in Boeing's newly launched 737 Max 10, which racked up more than 360 orders and commitments in Paris.

"We haven't actually looked into the range," he says of the Max 10. "We need the range on that aircraft."

The Max 10 will have a range of 3,124nm, 300nm less than the smaller Max 8 and Max 9 variants. A 1.67m fuselage stretch will allow it to seat up to 230 seats, 10 more than the Max 9, in a single class.

Norwegian plans to put the 737 Max 8's range to the test. The airline will debut the aircraft on flights between the USA and Europe in July, connecting smaller cities on both continents.

"When we get the Max, when we can fly it full and you don't have any problems with the length of the runways… it's going to be very interesting because you can fly it on very low fares," says Kjos. "The Max is a very cost-effective airplane."

Norwegian launched flights to Hartford, Newburgh Stewart and Providence from Edinburgh earlier in June with 737-800s that will move to the Max next month. The airline is restricting the older 737s to just 150 passengers, despite their 189-seat capacity, in order to operate them on the transatlantic segments.

The airline will begin flights to the three US cities from Belfast, Bergen, Cork, Dublin and Shannon with the Max in July.

Norwegian is set to take two 737 Max 8s today and four more by the end of the year.

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