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Despite opposition by U.S. pilots unions, airlines and even former DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, Norwegian Air is showing increasing confidence that it will win approval to fly to the U.S., and the Dreamliner purchases are the latest manifestation of this confidence.
Budget airline Norwegian Air wants to add more Boeing planes to its fleet as it looks to expand its international services, the Wall Street Journal reported the airline’s chief executive as saying.
Norwegian Air, which is principally a short-haul discount carrier, is looking to buy more than 20 787-9 Dreamliner long-haul planes for delivery after 2018, Chief Executive Bjoern Kjos told the paper in an interview.
Reuters reported in April that a delay in receiving U.S. backing for its long-haul plans had forced Norwegian Air to suspend talks to buy the 20 Dreamliners.
The additional Dreamliners would accommodate the airline’s growth plans until 2022, the Journal quoted Jos as saying.
Norwegian Air and Boeing could not immediately be reached for comment.
In the interview at London’s Gatwick airport, the CEO told the Journal that Gatwick would be a key part of its plans, with the carrier hoping to tap into a large network of passengers on discount short-haul airlines for its transatlantic and Asian flights.
Norwegian Air is the third-biggest budget airline by passenger numbers in Europe, trailing Ryanair and Easyjet .
(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bangalore; Editing by Peter Galloway)