Norway’s low-fare carrier Norwegian Air announced a new cooperation with British airline Virgin Atlantic on Monday. The deal aims to share Virgin’s lengthy experience in operating long-haul routes, which Norwegian is just now launching, while Virgin pilots can gain more cockpit experience on board Norwegian’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets.
Norwegian expects to finally take delivery of its first Dreamliners in late June, following delays tied to the jets’ battery problems. Norwegian is going ahead with its planned launch of its first intercontinental routes at the end of this month, but will operate them with leased aircraft until the Dreamliners are ready for service.
Now Norwegian’s new long-haul subsidiary (Norwegian Long Haul AS) has signed a deal in which Norwegian pilots can learn from Virgin’s long-distance pilots while Virgin’s pilots can train on the Norwegian’s Dreamliners. Virgin Atlantic has been flying long-haul routes between London and North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Australia for many years.
“Introducing a new type of aircraft is a major process,” Torstein Hoas of Norwegian Long Haul said in a press release Monday. “It’s therefore important that we learn from each other.”
Norwegian, meanwhile, has reported what it called “unusually high” passenger growth in April. The airline pegged the growth to the opening of two new bases in England and Spain and the launch of several new routes. More than 1.7 million passengers flew on Norwegian last month, up 27 percent from April last year. Its load factor was 74 percent, down 2.2 percent.