Norwegian Trialing Expansion beyond Nordics with Riga base

Norwegian Trialing Expansion beyond Nordics with Riga base

DALLAS – Oslo-based Norwegian Air Shuttle (DY) plans to base two aircraft at Riga International Airport (RIX) for the summer of 2023 to test the viability of expanding its network beyond its current market. The low-cost carrier is set to add more Boeing 737 MAX to its fleet, mainly Boeing 737-8 aircraft. 

During an earning call on October 26, Norwegian Chief Executive Officer Geir Karlsen said that he sees Latvia and neighboring counties as “an extended part of the Nordics” and that Norwegian already has a sizable presence at RIX. He also described the base at RIX as a small step we are doing at Norwegian to move out of the Nordics again.” 

This plan in Riga will be in addition to the airline restarting bases in Scandinavia and Spain at airports including Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim, Alicante, and Malanga. The carrier also plans to restore its seasonal base at Barcelona El Prat International Airport (BCN) during the 2023 summer season. 

The carrier is looking into network expansion opportunities as it receives more 737 MAX aircraft throughout the next two years. Then Norwegian will receive aircraft from a 50-aircraft order placed with Boeing in June.

Norwegian VP-CVG Boeing 787-9. Photo: Andrew Henderson/Airways

Norwegian Fleet Upgrade

Norwegian has 69 aircraft in its fleet, but with plans to acquire 15 leased MAX aircraft and to return older Boeing 737-800s in its fleet to lessors, the airline expects to have 82 planes in service by the end of 2023. 

Pre-pandemic, Norwegian has bases across Europe and has operated a fleet of 37 Boeing 787 Dreamliners to destinations across North America and Asia. In 2017 Norwegian previously presented the idea of a base in Riga. 

The Latvian capital is a hub for Latvian carrier Air Baltic (BT). Towards the end of 2021, low-cost carrier Ryanair (FR) based two aircraft at RIX.

Featured image: Norwegian SE-RTB, Boeing 737-8 MAX. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

Joshua Kupietzky has a passion for aviation and deep expertise in the aviation industry. He’s been enamored with the facts and figures of the airline industry, and the details of the make and model of commercial aircraft for as long as he can remember. Based in Chicago, US.

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