Key Points:

  • Norwegian is reevaluating the 737 MAX 10, seeing its potential for certain routes.

  • Geir Karlsen, Norwegian’s CEO, has changed his stance on the MAX 10 due to “new information”.

  • The airline's expansion plans include the opening of a previously announced base in Riga and a new, yet-to-be-announced non-Nordic base.

Norwegian Re-evaluates Boeing 737 MAX 10 to Benefit from its Range

OSLO — Amid evolving operational dynamics, Norwegian is giving serious consideration to the Boeing 737 MAX 10 as an addition to its fleet. Geir Karlsen, Norwegian's CEO, elaborated on this potential decision during the company's Q2 earnings call on 24 August. While previously hesitant about the Max 10 due to range concerns, Karlsen disclosed that the carrier's perspective has shifted based on updated data.

“Previously, we had our reservations about the MAX 10's capability to service routes like Oslo to Tenerife. Today, our view has pivoted, and we're closely assessing its inclusion in our fleet,” Karlsen detailed. 

Shedding light on potential seating configurations, Karlsen projects the MAX 10, under Norwegian's customization, to offer around 225 seats. He emphasized that key Spanish destinations, including Alicante and Malaga, would align well with the aircraft variant. However, there remains some uncertainty surrounding its suitability for routes such as Helsinki to the Canaries, with Karlsen commenting, “It’s a toss-up at this point.”

In line with Norwegian's future expansion plans, the airline has alluded to the opening of a new base in Riga, which has been previously announced but saw delays. This move is now set for the upcoming year. Karlsen also hinted the inauguration of another base outside the Nordic region. This new establishment is believed to greatly benefit from the extended range of the MAX 10, with an official announcement anticipated soon.

To provide context to Norwegian's current fleet dynamics, it maintains a mixed roster of 81 leased 737s, consisting of both NGs and MAX jets. This number is projected to touch 91 by the next year. This will further expand as the first ten MAX 8s from a previously placed order for 50 are expected to be integrated by 2025. Beyond this confirmed order, Norwegian holds options for an additional 30 aircraft.

On a related note, Boeing announced in late July their anticipation for the 737 MAX 10 to embark on its FAA certification flight tests in 2023. This would pave the way for its inaugural delivery slated for 2024.