In conflict with Boeing, Norwegian Air plans to buy Airbuses – 02/18/2022 at 17:04


by Victoria Klesty

OSLO (Reuters) – Norwegian Air could order Airbus planes in the future if an ongoing dispute with Boeing over plane order cancellations is not resolved quickly, the Norwegian carrier’s chief executive told Reuters on Friday.

Norwegian Air, which operates a fleet comprised entirely of Boeing aircraft, emerged from bankruptcy protection last May. The group is however still in conflict with Boeing over the cancellation of an order for 97 planes from Boeing placed before the pandemic. This dispute is the subject of legal proceedings in the United States.

Airbus, on the other hand, accepted the airline’s cancellation of a similar order.

Norwegian officials, including chief executive Geir Karlsen, met with an Airbus sales team last month, according to information then reported by Reuters.

Geir Karlsen said on Friday that the meeting was part of a long-standing dialogue.

“We consider it to be, say, problematic to design a future fleet plan with Boeing while we are in conflict with them,” the chief executive said on the sidelines of a company earnings presentation.

“So we have to decide what we’re going to do in the future and whether it’s even possible to have a commercial agreement with Boeing. We want to, but we haven’t succeeded so far,” he said. he adds.

Boeing did not immediately comment, and an Airbus spokesperson declined to comment.

Norwegian operated 51 Boeing 737s last year, a figure to be increased to 70 this year through leases.

However, under the terms of these leases, some aircraft may be replaced with “narrow-body new technology aircraft from either Boeing or Airbus”, the two major players in the commercial aircraft market.

“We really want to have a fleet that is partly owned and partly leased, and if we have to place a new order for planes, time is running out,” Geir Karlsen said.

He declined to elaborate on how quickly a decision would have to be made.

Norwegian and Airbus reached an agreement in February 2021 on the terms of termination of a contract for 88 single-aisle aircraft, lawyers for the two companies told the Irish High Court.

As part of this agreement, Airbus can keep the installments paid by Norwegian, which still owes it 600,000 pounds sterling (about 720,000 euros).

(Report Victoria Klesty, with the contribution of Tim Hepher; French version Elena Vardon, edited by Jean-Michel BĂ©lot)

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