Why Norse Atlantic Will be Flying To Nigeria This Summer

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Skift Take

Flying from London to Lagos on behalf of Air Peace will allow the Norwegian airline to utilize some of its surplus planes.

Norwegian low-cost airline Norse Atlantic is heading for Nigeria. The addition of the West African nation is unusual for the carrier, which usually flies from Europe to the United States and the Caribbean.

The new service will link Lagos to London and operate as a charter for Nigerian airline Air Peace. 

Known in the industry as an ‘ACMI’ contract, it provides the airplane, crew, maintenance, and insurance to the charter client. The move has been described by Norse as marking “the beginning of a strategic partnership” between the two companies. 

Norse Has Plenty of Planes

The Norwegian airline has an all-Boeing fleet of 15 787 Dreamliners, however it is not flying all of them. The carrier has entered into various sub-leasing deals, including with Spanish operator Air Europa to better leverage its assets.

Norse signed a long-term aircraft leasing contract on very favorable terms during the peak of the pandemic. The airline says this low cost-base allows it to be more nimble and park planes during quieter periods.

In recent months, it has trimmed back its flying program, with cuts to some transatlantic destinations and a renewed focus on core markets such as New York and Florida.

Speaking at the Skift Aviation Forum in Dallas Fort Worth last November, Norse President Charlie Duncan said Orlando and Miami were proving particularly strong.

Strong Big-Name Competition

The new Nigeria flights are due to begin in April and will initially run for two months. Charters will operate four-times weekly from London’s Gatwick Airport. The parties say there is potential for a longer-term agreement, however, it is unclear if or how this will be decided. 

Although Norse is already a major operator at Gatwick, it will be using new slots allocated to Air Peace for the route. The development will put the Nigerian carrier in competition with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, who already operate from London Heathrow to Lagos. 

For its part, the Lagos-London link will mark Air Peace’s first foray into the European market. The airline currently flies within Africa as well as select routes to the UAE, China, and India.

Watch Our Interview With Norse President Charlie Duncan Here:

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