Norse and Air Europa ink Dreamliner lease deal

As start-up Norse Atlantic Airways prepares to launch tickets sales this month, it is leasing four of its Boeing Dreamliners to generate cash.

The low-cost carrier, which plans long-haul services from Europe to the USA, has inked an 18-month agreement with Spanish airline Air Europa for the four aircraft, two Boeing 787-8s and two Boeing 787-9s. The arrangement will also assist Air Europa to meet demand for its flights.

The Majorca-based carrier had expedited the retirement of its Airbus A330, returning its widebodies to their respective lessors during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

However, issues with Dreamliner quality control have halted deliveries of the type, leaving Spain’s third biggest airline waiting to accept eight 787-9s. The situation means that Air Europa has a capacity shortfall of more than 2,700 seats at any given time.

 The move is set to increase Air Europa’s widebody fleet from 18 to 22 aircraft, comprising ten 787-8s and 12 of the larger 787-9s, when the lease deal go through.

Norse is leasing four Dreamliners to Air Europa which  
Norse is leasing four Dreamliners to Air Europa which   Norse Atlantic  Airways

Norse CEO Bjørn Tore Larsen explained the deal would create positive cash-flow from aircraft that would not be fully utilised in the Norwegian carrier’s start-up phase.

 “The agreement strengthens our already solid financial position as we continue to stay true to our strategy of cautiously entering the market and ramping up based on customer demand,” he said.

 Subject to sub-lease documents being completed around the end of April, the aircraft will be delivered to Air Europa in the second quarter, according to a statement from Norse. The airline’s route network is due to be revealed when ticket sales launch with planned destinations including Oslo, Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles and Florida.

 “We strongly believe that the demand for transatlantic travel will eventually bounce-back with full force because people will want to explore new destinations, visit friends and family and travel for business. Norse will be there to offer attractive and affordable flights on our more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliners to both leisure and cost-conscious business travellers,” Larsen added.

In March, economic uncertainty caused by the war in Ukraine, soaring oil prices and traveller hesitancy led Norse to postpone its original launch date from March to June. While adapting its launch date ambitions, the company announced it had been awarded slots at Gatwick Airport.

Norse plans to operate 15 Dreamliners – six 787-9s sourced from BOC Aviation while the remaining nine aircraft, a further six 787-9s as well as a trio of the smaller -8s, will come from AerCap.