OSLO, NORWAY — Norwegian Air announced its intention to increase its fleet by up to nine aircraft in anticipation of Europe's 2024 holiday travel season, after being forced to fly with fewer planes than planned this year due to delivery issues with Boeing. 

The budget airline plans to operate 81 aircraft during its peak months of June through August, despite initially hoping for four more, but will not compensate with wet leases from other companies.

CEO Geir Karlsen expressed hope that the carrier's fleet would reach nearly 90 by 2024, provided Boeing can deliver on its commitments. Norwegian Air and the American aircraft manufacturer settled a dispute last year, agreeing to a new deal for the delivery of 50 Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes between 2025 and 2028, with options for an additional 30 aircraft. However, Boeing has had to suspend deliveries due to supplier quality issues.

Karlsen acknowledged that delays were inevitable, with the Oslo-based airline having received only five of the 15 planes ordered from Boeing so far. He anticipates these delays to persist into 2024 and possibly 2025 but remains confident that some aircraft will be delivered. Despite reporting a first-quarter loss on Friday, Norwegian Air expects strong booking numbers to bolster its summer season.