Almost two years after cancelling a huge order for 92 aircraft, Norwegian Air has recommitted itself to the Boeing MAX 8 again. The carrier said on May 30 that it has in principle agreed to order fifty aircraft plus options for thirty. The agreement is expected to be concluded by the end of June. Norwegian in love again with the Boeing MAX 8.
The fifty aircraft on firm order will be delivered between 2025 and 2028. Their arrival will be close to the schedule of the phasing out of 737-800s when their lease contracts expire. This means that the net size of the fleet will remain at the current level, says Norwegian, which will be around seventy this summer. The airline said in February that its short-term strategy sees an expansion of the fleet to between 95 and 100 aircraft by 2024.
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The recommitment to the MAX 8 confirms that Norwegian has a keen interest in the type to build its future fleet on. The current fleet is based around the 737-800 and includes just three MAX 8s. In June 2020, it had taken delivery of eighteen MAX 8s. The decision on the cancellation of 92 aircraft remaining on order was taken when Norwegian – like many airlines – was forced to drastically restructure following the outbreak of Covid. Most MAX aircraft were returned to their lessors.
Since then, Norwegian has restructured its debts and amended its business model. It terminated its long-haul low-cost operations with Boeing 787s to focus solely on rebuilding a network, first in Norway and currently in Europe, serving key cities and seasonal destinations. For this reason, the airline cancelled its orders for more 787s as well as for 63 Airbus A321neo’s and thirty A321XLRs.