Boeing Commercial Airplanes finalized an order by Norwegian Air for nine 787-9 aircraft, the second variant of its high-profile Dreamliner passenger jet series. The order includes options for 10 more 787-9s, as the carrier expands its long-distance route offerings and adds to its fleet of eight 787-8 and 90 737MAX jets.
Boeing said the new order is the largest to-date for the 787-9 from a European airline. The OEM values the contract at more than $5 billion, according to current its current pricing list.
Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, or Norwegian, is a low-cost carrier serving the Scandinavian/Finnish regional market, as well as London, and vacation destinations in the Mediterranean and Canary Islands. It carried 24 million passengers in 2014.
"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," stated 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 U.S., and Europe and Asia,” Kjos continued. He added that the airline’s future growth and competiveness in the long-haul market is premised on its choice of the 787.
Norwegian presently operates eight 787-8s and has previously ordered 11 787-9s through lease agreements. When the current order is completed, the carrier will have 36 Dreamliners in service.
The “Dreamliner” is a wide-body twin-engine aircraft with long range and carrying capacity for 210 to 330 passengers. Boeing says it is its most fuel-efficient commercial jet, with a structure based on a large volume of composite materials helping to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20% versus similar-size jets. A more advanced aerodynamic design than previous jets, more-electric systems, and modern engines add to the 787’s appeal for airlines.
The 787-9 has a longer (“stretched”) fuselage than the 787-8, and seats 250–290 passengers in three classes (40 more than the current Dreamliners.) It has a flight range of 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles (9,200 to 9,700 miles.) It also has a higher fuel capacity than the 787-8 and a higher maximum take-off weight.
There will be another design variant, the 787-10, which will seat up to 330 passengers for long-distance 7,000-13,000 nautical miles (7,000-15,000 miles.) The 787-8 and -9 are assembled at Everett, Wash., and North Charleston, S.C., plants, though the 787-10 will be assembled only at the South Carolina site.
With the latest contract for 19 787-9s, Norwegian has over 150 bookings with Boeing, including 100 737 MAXs. "Norwegian has led the way in utilizing the exceptional performance of the 787 to develop a successful low-cost long-haul operation," stated Boeing’s Todd Nelp, vice president of European Sales. "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."