There is word that the fast growing low cost carrier, Norwegian Air Shuttle, wants to cut costs by setting up long haul 787 operations based in Ireland.
How this might annoy or adversely affect the trans Atlantic ambitions of Ryanair, also headquartered in Ireland, is an unanswered question for industry watchers days before Norwegian starts flying the first of eight 787-8s it is acquiring on the Stockholm-New York and Stockholm-Bangkok routes from 15 August.
Earlier this year Ryanair officially killed off long held ambitions for a separate long haul two class low fare operation offering free blow jobs in business class, then revived them a week ago, minus the vulgar references to oral sex, in so far as it said that it could take four years to do so because of a shortage of suitable aircraft.
At the moment Norwegian is running a close second to Indonesia’s Lion Air in the massive jet ordering stakes, with both now holding orders for well over 200 Airbus A320NEOs and 200 Boeing 737MAXs, which are new engine technology versions of the widely used single aisle families.
The Ryanair operation is considered something of a template for the major low cost carrier franchises in the Asia Pacific, comprising Jetstar, Tigerair and AirAsia as well as Lion Air. Which makes how Ryanair deals with large scale imitation an interesting study in itself.
Jetstar also bears similarities to Norwegian in that it has set up a Singapore operation for both Jetstar Asia, and some of Jetstar’s longer haul A330-200 wide bodies, to reduce costs, and like Norwegian, is replacing older Airbuses on international routes with 787-8s.
While Norwegian will fly its 787s long haul much sooner than Jetstar, both will have their first three of the Dreamliners in service by the end of this year. Norwegian seems to have provided room for Norwegians, with only 291 seats in its 787s compared to Jetstar not providing as much space for Australians, with a total 335 seats.
Norwegian and Jetstar both offer a long haul premium economy product, and once Jetstar releases a seat map for its 787-8s a more detailed comparison between them will be possible.
Norwegian isn’t the first long haul lower fare operator of the 787-8. The first is Thomson Airways, which has been flying trans Atlantic services from the UK since last month. Thomson is not exactly a low cost carrier in the Norwegian or Jetstar mould. It’s a holiday charter as well as regular transport service carrier with the same crippling cabins in single aisle services in the Euro markets as true LCCs like Ryanair, easyJet and Wizz, but on international routes it positions its cabin product in economy above that of say Jetstar or Norwegian.