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Anonymous2 Aug 2012
Norwegian have taken the giant step of entering the UK BSP which allows UK business travel agents the chance to book them on their reservations system as opposed to booking on the web. They already offer seat numbers as standard and ultra modern equipment.
Do these changes mean low cost carriers are moving more towards legacy airlines?2 Aug 2012
Reminds of the last few words of Animal Farm….
For pigs, replace with LCC. For man, replace with legacy airlines!
“Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”2 Aug 2012
Norwegian will begin flying long-haul next year from Oslo to New York and Bangkok.
What is interesting here is that, to avoid high Scandinavian costs, Norwegian will locate its cabin crew base (for its long-haul flights) to Bangkok where, presumably, they will be paid the lower Thai wage rates.
Although any national can apply to be cabin staff they must agree to be based in Bangkok.
Also to save on personnel costs, both pilots and cabin crew for the long-haul services will be hired not by Norwegian, but by a staffing agency.
Norwegian has ordered a small fleet of B787s which will accommodate 291 passengers in a 3-3-3 layout. In the long term, Norwegian intends to maintain its long-haul planes outside Scandinavia.
Although most European airlines flying long distance routes employ some overseas-based staff I believe it’s the first time that a carrier (in Europe) will base its entire cabin staff overseas as a cost-cutting measure.
I wonder if other budget carriers will follow Norwegian’s move in years to come ?
Here’s the article which appeared (in Norwegian language) recently in the local press:2 Aug 2012
An article in The Phoenix (Ireland’s “Private Eye”) claims that Norwegian is the biggest threat to Ryanair, ever.
They are liked, they have money and are spending it. We’ll see…!2 Aug 2012
It will be interesting to see who liceses the pilots/cabin crew and where the aircraft are going to be registered. The Thai CAA have extremley high standards.2 Aug 2012
Hi MartynSinclair – in the news article the boss of the airline says that as Norwegian is based in Norway then the pilots will have European certificates.
I don’t know about the cabin crew but all staff are being hired by an agency and must agree to be based in Bangkok.
I would imagine the B787 will be registered in Norway. The plan, according to the article, is at a future date to have maintenance undertaken overseas (ie outside Norway).
As I see it, Norwegian is adopting a new concept as regards staffing.
SE Asia is popular with Scandinavian travellers so it’s easy to see why Norwegian wishes to serve Bangkok. There are also a good number of Thai nationals residing in Scandinavia. (For that reason Thai Airways is the only Asian carrier to serve all three Scandinavian capitals: Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo)
One must also assume that Norwegian will feed its Oslo-Bangkok service with passengers from other cities on its Scandinavian and European network.
And of course the carrier will be seeking to fly SE Asians both to and beyond Oslo.
Budget airlines haven’t yet been successful between Europe and Asia (Air Asia X is a classic example) but maybe Norwegian (thanks to low staffing costs and the economical B787) will prove to be the exception.3 Aug 2012
Norwegian says it wants to eliminate personnel costs by using an agency for these new long-haul routes.
Yes, Qantas and other carriers base a number of staff overseas. But Norwegian’s policy is different because every single member of its long-haul crew will be based in Bangkok. They will operate routes like Oslo-New York as well as Oslo-Bangkok.3 Aug 2012
I understand your point LondonCity. Does this also mean the agency is going ot be responsible for crew licensing and training schedules.
All very well for the airline to require European licenses, but who is going to be responsibe for maintaining, or will the agency contract this back to the airline??3 Aug 2012
Fair point, Martyn. I was only quoting from the article. I thought it was a novel concept but maybe there’s more in it that meets the eye. Let’s await developments.3 Aug 2012