How Do You Launch an Airline in These Troubled Times? Ask Norse Atlantic Airways.

Low-cost, perk-heavy flights between the U.S. and Europe sound nice, but the economics may not work

A 787 Dreamliner branded with Norse Atlantic Airways, a new airline launching in 2022
A 787 Dreamliner branded with Norse Atlantic Airways, a new airline launching in 2022.
Norse Atlantic Airways

Is this really the best time to start a new airline?

Debuting in 2022, Norse Atlantic Airways is going to face the continued challenges of COVID-19, along with understaffing and increasingly unruly passengers.

So what is Norse going to offer that we can’t get anywhere else? According to the nascent carrier, which was started by shipping and aviation management veteran Bjørn Tore Larsen (who is also the biggest shareholder), the airline was inspired by “the Norsemen who traveled and explored the world with their state-of-the art longships.” Ergo, Norse Atlantic Airways promises intercontinental and affordable flights on-board the “modern and more environmentally friendly Boeing 787 Dreamliners” (the planes are more fuel efficient than some, but calling fuel-burning planes “environmentally friendly” is certainly greenwashing).

The Dreamliners — all named after national parks — will offer some interesting perks: on-board wifi, larger windows, auto body clock cabin dimming, supposedly “fresher” air (that’s hard to quantify) and on-demand food and entertainment. Add in low-fare service between the U.S. and Europe — or, at least, New York, Florida, Paris, London and Oslo — and maybe you have a recipe for post-pandemic success.

“We strongly believe that there is a need for a new and innovative airline serving the low-cost intercontinental market with modern, more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient aircraft as the world gradually reopens,” Larsen noted in a press release. “Our plans are on track and operations will commence when travel restrictions are lifted and demand for transatlantic travel is back.”

Although operations are delayed until 2022, One Mile at a Time already has a take, noting that the planes are a “solid offering for an ultra low cost carrier” but that the airline concept is pretty much a revamped take on beleaguered carrier Norwegian, which utilized a similar business model and saw severely reduced traveler interest during the winter months.


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