Widerøe's Flyveselskap ASA will increase its activities in Northern Norway and introduce for the first time the 50 seat Dash-8 in this part of the country. The expansion will take place following SAS's decision to withdraw from the commuter operations defined as Norlink. This network presently runs from Kirkenes via Lakselv, Alta, Tromsø, Harstad/Narvik and Bodø to Trondheim.
According to the plans, SAS will continue with the Norlink operations until spring 2003 and Widerøe will gradually begin operating on this network as of October this year. Neither the timetables nor the extent of Widerøe's engagement are at the moment clarified.
Following the re-distribution of services between Braathens and SAS, the new service must be seen as the result of the new route structure emerging for this part of the country. The goal is that the three cooperating airlines collectively will offer an optimal service aimed at both the regional travel requirements and the need for efficient connections to the rest of the domestic network.
The forthcoming expansion implies that Widerøe will further strengthen the strong position held in Northern Norway. The focus is in accordance with our expressed strategy of concentrating on markets and services where 37 - 75 seat aircraft are ideally suited, says Widerøe's Vice President Production, Mr Terje Skram.
Widerøe has during several decades built up a considerable network in Northern Norway. The present network in this part of the country includes 22 airports.