The IAG group, which includes British Airways and Iberia, among other companies, acquired 4.6% of Norwegian Air Shuttle‘s shares this week in an attempt to defend itself against the growth of low-cost airlines in Europe. The company has acknowledged that it intends to take control of Norwegian company, one of the most aggressive aviation low-cost airlines.
According to the IAG, “The minority investment is intended to establish a position from which to initiate discussions with Norwegian, including the possibility of a full offer for Norwegian”. Norwegian commented that “had no prior knowledge of this acquisition before it was reported by the media mid-morning Thursday. Norwegian has not been in any discussions or dialogue with IAG about the matter. Norwegian believes that interest from one of the largest international aviation groups demonstrates the sustainability and potential of our business model and global growth”.
IAG’s move was expected after Norwegian Air has used Gatwick Airport, in London, as an international hub. With more competitive prices and modern aircraft, the Norwegian company has grown rapidly and plans to debut in several countries.
Low-cost companies have become a threat to old and traditional airlines, indebted and with management problems. To counter such attacks, the Air France-KLM group, for example, has decided to create a new airline, Joon (an acronym for young in French) that focuses on the same public as low-cost airlines.