By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer
The Boeing Co. and Airbus continued raking in orders for their updated single-aisle jets on Wednesday when Norwegian Air signed deals valued at $21.5 billion with the jet makers for 222 aircraft.
The carrier ordered 100 of Boeing’s new 737 MAX jets and 22 of Boeing’s present-day 737 model. It’s Boeing’s largest order ever from a European airline, the company said.
Norwegian also committed to buy 100 Airbus A320 new engine option aircraft. That order has not been finalized.
“The A320neo will enable us to increase capacity while decreasing our operating costs,” Bjorn Kjos, Norwegian’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Norwegian’s A320neo will feature a single-class cabin layout, seating approximately 180 passengers, Airbus said in a press release.
This is Norwegian’s first order with Airbus.
Norwegian’s order with Boeing is valued at $11.4 billion at list prices, though airlines negotiate discounts, especially on large orders like this one.
“This is a historic day for Norwegian. We have secured our fleet renewal for years to come and are very pleased with the agreement with Boeing,” Kjos said.
Boeing launched the re-engined 737 program in August and now has more than 1,000 orders and commitments, the company said.
“Norwegian has become one of the largest 737 operators in Europe and has been a valued Boeing partner since the airline was established,” Aldo Basile, Boeing vice president of jet sales for Europe, said in a statement.
Norwegian operates a fleet of 62 Boeing 737s. Including the new order, the carrier has 184 aircraft on order with Boeing and leasing companies.
“It’s a massive order, which shows a big ambition on behalf of Norwegian,” said John Strickland, director of London-based aviation consultant firm JLS Consulting.
The challenge will be to place the new planes on routes and in markets where they can fill the seats and not end up in a situation where “suddenly you’re raking in losses instead of paying for the planes,” Strickland said.
Unlike budget carriers Ryanair and EasyJet, which serve destinations across Europe, Norwegian is focused on the Scandinavian market. Last year, the airline flew about 13 million passengers, rapidly gaining ground on regional competitor Scandinavian Airlines.
Herald writer Michelle Dunlop: 425-339-3454 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.