OSLO, Norway, Oct. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Norwegian have finalized an order for 19 787-9 Dreamliners valued at more than $5 billion at current list prices. The order also includes options for 10 more 787-9s, as the carrier looks to significantly grow its existing long-haul fleet into the next decade. It is the largest single order for 787-9s from a European airline.
Norwegian currently operates eight 787-8s and has previously ordered 11 787-9s through lease agreements. With today’s order, the carrier, headquartered in Oslo, will expand its total 787 fleet to nearly 40 airplanes in the coming years.
“This order of 19 new Dreamliners is a major milestone and enables Norwegian to offer a wide range of new routes to consumers worldwide. The order is also essential to further strengthening the company in the global competition,” said Bjørn Kjos, Norwegian’s CEO. “After two years of operating low-cost long-haul flights, our load factors have averaged in the nineties, which proves the demand for affordable flights between Europe and the US and Europe and Asia. Future growth and competiveness in the long-haul market depends on the fuel-efficient, state-of-the art 787 Dreamliner. Not least, the Dreamliner offers the best passenger experience.”
The 787-9 complements and extends the 787 family. With the fuselage stretched by 6 meters (20 feet) over the 787-8, the 787-9 can fly up to 20 percent more passengers and 23 percent more cargo farther yet with the same exceptional environmental performance – 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than the airplanes they replace.
“Norwegian has led the way in utilizing the exceptional performance of the 787 to develop a successful low-cost long-haul operation,” said Todd Nelp, vice president of European Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The addition of 787-9s to the Norwegian fleet will enable it to grow its route structure, while providing more range and capacity with outstanding passenger comfort.”
The 787-9 leverages the visionary design of the 787-8, offering passenger-pleasing features such as the industry’s largest windows, large overhead bins with room for everyone’s bag, modern LED lighting, air that is cleaner, more humid and at a higher pressure for greater comfort and technology that senses and counters turbulence for a smoother ride.
Norwegian serves more than 130 destinations across Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the USA and Southeast Asia, with a fleet that includes 90 Next-Generation 737-800s and eight 787-8s.
In 2014 the airline carried nearly 24 million passengers and has won numerous awards for its onboard service, including a SkyTrax award for ‘Best low-cost long-haul airline.’ With today’s order for 19 787-9s, Norwegian has more than 150 unfilled orders from Boeing, including 100 737 MAXs.
While American Airlines has opted to cease its Philadelphia – Tel Aviv service, United has announced today the launch of its three-weekly San Francisco – Tel Aviv service, scheduled to start on April 1, 2016, subject to government approval.
“Providing corporate customers from throughout the Bay Area and Silicon Valley nonstop service to the high-tech market in Israel has been high on our priority list at United,” said Dave Hilfman, United’s senior vice president of worldwide sales. “Now with the 787-9 Dreamliner, we’re delighted to make it a reality.”
Currently, United Airlines offers twice-daily service non-stop flights between Newark and Tel Aviv, operated by its Boeing 777-200ER fleet.
MORE DESTINATIONS OUT OF UNITED’S SAN FRANCISCO HUB
Besides the announced Tel Aviv service, United will expand its route offer from its Pacific hub by adding the already-announced seasonal service to Xi’An in China, besides a three-weekly service to Auckland, beginning on July 1, 2016. Flights will be operated in partnership with Air New Zealand, a Star Alliance member.
As United adds more Dreamliners to its fleet (plans are 25 aircraft in 2015), the airline readies their deployment into long thin routes. Efficient, modern aircraft like the 787 and the Airbus A350, will allow airlines to operate several such routes. United seems to follow the example of British Airways and its successful Austin service and its forthcoming San Jose flight to London.
With the right aircraft, these routes can be very profitable for airlines and become exclusive city-pairs that they can have a good hold on.
Facing frequent problems with the Boeing Dreamliner planes, the engineers of national carrier Air India have urged the management to not accept any further delivery till the pending issues are resolved. The airline is awaiting six more Dreamliners of the total 27 ordered.
Reportedly, AI is losing money by the day as many planes remain grounded due to snags. The Air India Aircraft Engineers Association recently stated, “The association requests the management to put on hold further deliveries of B787s till all technical problems are resolved to the satisfaction of Air India.”
An internal route economic analysis done by AI in April showed that in the last financial year, the airline lost over Rs 1,800 crore on all international routes on which the state-of-the-art Boeing Dreamliners were operating. It was nearly half of the total loss (Rs 3,900 crore) incurred by the carrier on international routes during the period. The losses are worrying, as the Dreamliner was an important part of AI’s turn-around plan.
The carrier is reeling under a debt of over Rs 44,000 crore and is dependent upon the state grant for funds. Sources said the Dreamliners were ordered because the manufacturer had claimed that they were 20 per cent more fuel efficient. Fuel expenditure amounts to over 40% of the airline’s operational cost.
During an interview with dna last month, Dinesh Keskar, senior VP (Asia Pacific and India sales) for Boeing Commercial airplanes, had said that despite some initial snags, the airline management was satisfied with the Dreamliner’s performance. “In fact, I had a meeting with former AI CMD Rohit Nandan a few days ago, and he admitted to me that Dreamliner was now the backbone of their airline’s turn-around plan.”