Norway’s two main airlines will be merged into one group. Norwegian Air Shuttle said on Thursday it had reached an agreement to acquire Widerøe, Scandinavia’s largest regional carrier.
The deal was handled by Norwegian and WF Holding AS, Widerøe’s parent company. Despite the agreement, the two companies will continue using their original brands and will have separate administrations, each with its own headquarters and flight network.
Norwegian will acquire Widerøe for NOK 1,125 million (about US$104 million). The purchase price is still subject to some post-closing adjustments, including regarding Widerøe’s profitability in 2023.
“This is a milestone in Norwegian aviation history. Our two airlines have existed side by side for many years and no one knows the aviation market in Norway better. With this transaction, we will now create a streamlined and more comprehensive offer for all customers, and we look forward to offering seamless travel across our entire route networks,” said Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian.
Businesses of the two companies complement each other
Norwegian Air pointed out that its routes have a very limited overlap with the routes operated by the now former competitor and that, therefore, its activities complement each other.
Of a total of 107 routes in Norway, 85 are operated by Widerøe and 22 are served by Norwegian. Of this total, only five flights overlap.
“Widerøe has a close to 90-year history, and we are the guarantor of a well-functioning route network in regional Norway. Although we have a solid footprint in Norway, we are smaller in an international context. We are therefore very happy to now join forces with Norwegian, and we are excited to get an industrial owner that aspires to develop both companies further,” said Stein Nilsen, CEO of Widerøe.
The third largest low cost carrier in Europe, Norwegian currently operates a fleet of 81 Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX 8 jets.
Widerøe operates in the regional and international flights segment with 44 De Havilland Canada Dash 8 turboprops (in the -100, -200, -300 and -400 versions) and three Embraer E190-E2 jets, of which it was the launch customer of the new aircraft family, in 2018.