Flightradar24 Blog

Norwegian long-haul is no longer

Share this article

Back in November we took a look at Norwegian’s drastically reduced flying during the pandemic, and speculated about whether the airline would survive at all. At the time flights had been reduced to all but a handful of mostly domestic runs in Norway. Now it seems we have something of an answer about Norwegian’s future. The airline announced today that it plans to completely exit long haul flying and focus instead on short haul European routes going forward. That will mean offloading its entire fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

A sensible step

In many ways this makes sense. Downsizing and simplifying what had become a massive and sprawling operation at a time of depressed demand for air travel seems wise. Norwegian says this move will mean a return to focusing on its core Nordic markets – something that had gradually faded away as the airline grew. That also sounds like a sensible move. The airline doesn’t rule out a return to long-haul flying in future, but we can be fairly sure if that does happen, it will be a much more cautious expansion than the first time around.

In the months of September and October 2019, just a few months before the pandemic threw the aviation industry into chaos, Norwegian flew 2,912 flights using its 787 fleet. It wasn’t unheard of for Norwegian to fly intra-European services using the 787 occasionally, but the vast majority of these were long-haul.

Chart showing Norwegian 787 flights September and October 2019
Norwegian 787 flights from European cities to destinations around the world, September and October 2019

A sudden stop last March

Up until mid-March of 2020, Norwegian’s long-haul operations remained busy and far-reaching. Then, by the end of March, all 787s were grounded. The last Norwegian 787 commercial flight that Flightradar24 tracked was flown by LN-LNC, which flew Krabi to Oslo on March 29. None have operated a commercial flight since and it looks as if the next time they do, it will be with other operators.

It’s a remarkable fall for what was just a year or two ago one of the world’s fastest growing airlines. From being seen as far afield as Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, Bangkok and Tampa – not to mention its red noses showing up all over tarmacs at London Gatwick, Oslo, Stockholm and more – to nothing. And it is bad news for all crew bases outside of Scandinavia, with quite a few jobs now going away for good.

Norwegian 787 long haul Dreamliner
A Norwegian 787 Dreamliner seen in better days.

Better than an outright collapse

Nevertheless it’s at least good to know that Norwegian will survive, even in a diminished form, and try to make European flying work as demand for air travel hopefully begins to tick upward again. Whether you love or hate their old business model, the airline did bring very low fares and lots of new nonstop service to many of us while it was in its ascendancy.

Norwegian says it expects to have a fleet of 50 aircraft going forward – all Boeing 737s. That’s not exactly a small fleet. If all goes according to plan we’ll still be seeing plenty of Norwegian, at least here in Europe, for the foreseeable future.

Featured image © Mark Szemberski
On The Radar Logo

Get the latest aviation news delivered to you

Get the latest aviation news delivered to you

Flight tracking and aviation industry news direct to your inbox

Aviation news comes quickly, so join more than 600,000 others who receive weekly aviation industry and flight tracking news from Flightradar24 direct to their inbox.

Share this article

Useful flight tracking glossary

View our glossary of terms which you may encounter either on our site or in aviation in general that we hope enriches your flight tracking experience.

About Flightradar24

Flightradar24 is a global flight tracking service that provides you with real-time information about thousands of aircraft around the world.
Latest video
On The Radar Logo
Get weekly updates on Flightradar24 and have the latest aviation news land in your inbox.

How flight tracking works

Flightradar24 combines data from several data sources including ADS-B, MLAT and radar data.
Live updates

And congratulations to @adrianj878 who wins a year of Flightradar24 Gold. Please DM us to claim your prize.

Well done to everyone who said these are the two areas without assigned air traffic control responsibilities (No FIR). We’ll compile the entries and announce the winner soon.

Search the blog
Trending articles
Follow us
Latest AvTalk Podcasts
Related news
Flights from Russian en route to Turkish destinations

Where are flights leaving Russia going?

After Vladimir Putin announced a mobilization of reservists for Russia’s war in Ukraine, prices for international flights departing Russia this week skyrocketed and nearly every

Aeroflot cancels international flights

Russian flag carrier Aeroflot will cancel international flights, except Belarus, from 8 March. The cancellation of international flights will apply to all airlines in the

Flight tracking top 10 aircraft

Explore the top 10 most tracked aircraft and find out why these particular aircraft draw so much interest.

Help to grow our flight tracking coverage

We are continually looking to improve our flight tracking and the airports below are where new receivers will add the most coverage. Apply for a receiver today and if accepted you’ll receiver a free Flightradar24 Business Subscription.

Free ADS-B Receiver
Flightradar24 logo
Try the full Flightradar24 experience free for 7 days
Remove ads and unlock over 50 additional features
On The Radar Logo

Get the Flightradar24 Aviation newsletter

Flight tracking and aviation industry news direct to your inbox

Aviation news comes quickly, so we want to bring more of the aviation world to you with our weekly Flightradar24 aviation newsletter - On The Radar.

On The Radar Logo