Norwegian budget carrier Norse Atlantic Airways has selected ULD manager Jettainer to provide the loading equipment needed to accommodate passenger luggage and cargo shipment in the lower
deck compartments of its Boeing 787 jetliners. The contract has a term of 5 years and enables Norse to concentrate on its core business, the transport of passengers and air
"They demand 100 percent performance - we deliver that rate,” Jettainer CEO Thomas Sonntag assures. That applies to containers in which passengers' luggage is transported. And it applies to pallets, on which air freight is stacked and stowed. For both modes of transport, it’s Jettainer’s responsibility to provide the loading equipment for Norse in time and sufficient quantity. Mr. Sonntag speaks of roughly 1,000 units needed to fulfill the task. “ULDs are a scarce resource nowadays, but in contrast to some market players we got sufficient equipment for securing uninterrupted flows of baggage and freight shipments flown in the holds of Norse,” the manager states.
From 8 to 15 aircraft
Soon, the number of units will grow since the Norwegian budget carrier conducted its first commercial flight only on June 14. Currently, the fleet consists of 8 Boeing 787 passenger aircraft, both B87-9 and B87-8 variants, with plans to add another seven Dreamliners in the foreseeable future, confirms COO Thom-Arne Norheim. All aircraft are leased, either from Irish provider AerCap or Singaporean BOC Aviation.
Offering low-cost flights on long-haul routes is not really a brand-new business model, as shown by CEBU Pacific, Air Asia or Scoot, among others. However, in contrast to the Far East, there are still major gaps in transatlantic budget traffic. Norse is now trying to fill the niche, collaborating with Norwegian and EasyJet in Europe and Spirit Airlines in the USA for feeding and commuting services, but below the alliance level.
Extra wishes cost extra money
Since the launching flight in June, the average load factor on all routes is 88 percent, says Mr. Norheim, after he’d checked the booking stats. Pax who want to travel simply, without much comfort, pay prices between 200 and 300 euros for a flight from London Gatwick to New York and back, for example. Others who ask for more comfort, like seats with more legroom, prefer a window seat or want to be served food and drinks must spend more depending on their individual desires.
First flight BER-JFK
Whether the business model will be sustainable in the long term remains to be seen. In any case, Norse management is very satisfied with the traffic results of the first two months, confirms COO Norheim. The occasion for the joint press conference of Norse and Jettainer, which was also attended by officials from BER Airport, was the inaugural flight of the newcomer from Berlin to New York on 17AUG22. Since that day, the carrier serves the route daily with its B787-9 aircraft. Four weekly return flights BER-LAX complement the transatlantic services between the German capital and destinations in the U.S.
Cargo is “absolutely essential”
Touching the lower deck transport capabilities of the “Dreamliner”, Mr. Norheim says that the aircraft is capable of carrying 30+ tons of baggage and cargo in the lower holds per flight. Cargo, the manager emphasizes, is not only important as a revenue source, but "absolutely essential" to the functioning of Norse’s business model. “From our perspective, freight makes the difference,” he says. Since Norse operates a uniform fleet, Jettainer is able to standardize the ULD processes by using AKE and PMC loading equipment, without neglecting operational efficiency and transparency of procedures.
Ramping up the business
The Norwegian budget airline is already the seventh new account Jettainer succeeded to gain in 2022, after Avianca Cargo, t´way Air and others. More are to come soon, indicates Joern Clausen, Head of Sales Europe, without revealing names. “Norse’s plan is to grow quickly, and we support them by scaling their business, ramping it up,” explains Chief Sales Officer, Thorsten Riekert.
At the press conference, Bjoern Tore Larsen, founder, CEO and major shareholder of Norse Atlantic Airways, emphasized that his company had deliberately chosen Berlin as destination for transatlantic flights. "For far too long, this vibrant and culturally diverse city has been inadequately connected to the U.S. Our highly competitive fares and direct flights offer an option that saves both money and time for local and international businesses when they choose Norse to travel to and from the U.S. or use our cargo services."
Norse follows Scoot
Thomas Hoff Anderson, Managing Director Operations, Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH replied to this: "Welcome Norse! The new long-haul connection to the U.S. East Coast strengthens the connectivity and thus the attractiveness of BER. Fast, direct, and reliable scheduled flights are an important basis for the traditionally close connections between the German capital region and the USA.”
Last October, SIA’s budget subsidiary Scoot had commenced flights linking Berlin and Singapore.
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