Norwegian to add 11 737-800s

By Olivier Bonnassies

Norwegian is planning to add 11 new Boeing 737-800s to its fleet this year. At the end of last year the Scandinavian budget carrier operated seven aircraft of the type along with four MD80s and 26 737-300s.

In the first half of 2009, Norwegian plans to add five leased 737-800s while another four leased aircraft are scheduled for the second half.

Norwegian's CFO Frode Foss tells CAO that the carrier will also take delivery of the first two of its 42 737-800 order from Boeing in the third quarter of this year.

Foss says the carrier will send in the coming months a request for proposal for long-term financing covering a total of seven aircraft: two in 2009 and the remaining five in 2010.

"Aircraft will be financed through a 12-year Eximbank financing supported package," he tells CAO. Last year the carrier mandated pre-delivery-payment financing covering 10 aircraft to Natixis Transport Finance.

Norwegian is modernising its fleet and will end the year with a mix 737-300 and 737-800 fleet after phasing out its last remaining Boeing MD82s in the third quarter.

Total fleet will reach 44 aircraft by year-end, including 18 737-800s and 26 737-300s. By 2014, Norwegian's737-800 fleet is expected to include 58 aircraft.

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