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alan3
Topic Author
Posts: 459
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2014 6:13 am

Why does Norway have so many airlines?

Tue Jun 01, 2021 8:54 pm

I just found out about the upcoming airline Flyr (https://simpleflying.com/flyr-start-up-route-network/) which has me wondering......How many airlines can a country that size sustain?

    SAS
    Wideroe
    Norwegian
    TUI Nordic

and now there 2 planned Norwegian startups....

    Norsk Atlantic
    Flyr

...and that doesn't include Ryanair and Wizz, both of whom have bases at TRF for flights around Europe

I know some are domestic and some international but SAS, Wideroe, Norwegian and Flyr are all flying domestic. That's 4 national domestic airlines!

This post is a bit rhetorical but it does have me curious about why and how the market can sustain that since there are much larger countries that can barely sustain 2 or 3
 
VSMUT
Posts: 5497
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:40 am

Re: Why does Norway have so many airlines?

Tue Jun 01, 2021 9:22 pm

alan3 wrote:
    SAS
    Wideroe
    Norwegian
    TUI Nordic

and now there 2 planned Norwegian startups....

    Norsk Atlantic
    Flyr


For a starter:
SAS is more Danish and Swedish than Norwegian. The biggest SAS hub by a big margin is Copenhagen, not Oslo.
TUI Nordic is a Swedish holiday-charter airline, they are not Norwegian. They have a fleet of only 3 aircraft, and my understanding is that they do more work out of Sweden and Denmark than Norway. Pre-Covid, Danish JetTime did most of the flying for them.

Norway is a long, mountainous country filled with fjords and lakes. Driving anywhere takes forever. Building rail lines is expensive because you have to tunnel and bridge most of the way. The only practical ways are by ferry or plane. That explains Widerøe and much of the SAS operation in Norway. It should also be pointed out that for many years Widerøe subcontracted for SAS, and was even owned by SAS for a while. Widerøe also does the really small turboprop stuff, which all the others barely touch. Widerøe also has a lot of PSO routes.

Then you have Norwegian, Flyr and Norsk Atlantic. These all started with Norwegian, a Norwegian low-cost airline that eventually grew and had most of its activities outside Norway. When they pretty much crashed 1-2 years ago, the people behind Norwegian restarted the long-haul concept under the Norsk Atlantic brand. It is by no means certain that Norsk Atlantic will maintain any notable network out of Norway, from the sound of things they are aiming for a London Gatwick and Paris Orly hub again. I am not really familiar with Flyr, but my guess is they are also ex-Norwegian staff vying to take over the Scandinavian low-cost segment once held by Norwegian (which the new Norwegian is also gunning for).


alan3 wrote:
...and that doesn't include Ryanair and Wizz, both of whom have bases at TRF for flights around Europe


Wizz just shut the base at short notice. Didn't Ryanair shut its Norwegian bases in 2016?
 
alan3
Topic Author
Posts: 459
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2014 6:13 am

Re: Why does Norway have so many airlines?

Tue Jun 01, 2021 10:25 pm

VSMUT wrote:

For a starter:
SAS is more Danish and Swedish than Norwegian. The biggest SAS hub by a big margin is Copenhagen, not Oslo.
TUI Nordic is a Swedish holiday-charter airline, they are not Norwegian. They have a fleet of only 3 aircraft, and my understanding is that they do more work out of Sweden and Denmark than Norway. Pre-Covid, Danish JetTime did most of the flying for them.

Norway is a long, mountainous country filled with fjords and lakes. Driving anywhere takes forever. Building rail lines is expensive because you have to tunnel and bridge most of the way. The only practical ways are by ferry or plane. That explains Widerøe and much of the SAS operation in Norway. It should also be pointed out that for many years Widerøe subcontracted for SAS, and was even owned by SAS for a while. Widerøe also does the really small turboprop stuff, which all the others barely touch. Widerøe also has a lot of PSO routes.


Norway's geography is a good point and I'm sure Norway relies more on flying than many other countries so may be the primary answer to my question.

Norway may be SAS's smallest home country but SAS and Norwegian both do already compete on number of domestic routes so it's interesting that the startup Flyr seems to want to join in as well.

For Wideroe, this is true that they are largely serving small turboprop operations although there is also some overlap on routes also served alreday by DY & SK (eg: OSL-BOO).

VSMUT wrote:

Then you have Norwegian, Flyr and Norsk Atlantic. These all started with Norwegian, a Norwegian low-cost airline that eventually grew and had most of its activities outside Norway. When they pretty much crashed 1-2 years ago, the people behind Norwegian restarted the long-haul concept under the Norsk Atlantic brand. It is by no means certain that Norsk Atlantic will maintain any notable network out of Norway, from the sound of things they are aiming for a London Gatwick and Paris Orly hub again. I am not really familiar with Flyr, but my guess is they are also ex-Norwegian staff vying to take over the Scandinavian low-cost segment once held by Norwegian (which the new Norwegian is also gunning for).



That Norsk Atlantic are trying to do (long haul low cost) what Norwegian JUST gave up on is what baffles me likely the most.

One area Flyr seems to want to compete is from Norway to European sun holiday destinations. These routes are already served by Ryanair, Norwegian, SAS, TUI and an airline called Sunclass. So seems there will be a hyper level of competition on that market!

VSMUT wrote:
Wizz just shut the base at short notice. Didn't Ryanair shut its Norwegian bases in 2016?


True Ryanair nor Wizzair fly domestic but both still seem to fly from Oslo to quite a number of destinations around Europe but perhaps they don't have bases in Norway.
 
VSMUT
Posts: 5497
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:40 am

Re: Why does Norway have so many airlines?

Wed Jun 02, 2021 8:40 am

alan3 wrote:
For Wideroe, this is true that they are largely serving small turboprop operations although there is also some overlap on routes also served alreday by DY & SK (eg: OSL-BOO).


Widerøe has extensive codeshare and partnership agreements with SAS. They share the same frequent flyer program, sell tickets on each others flights etc. You might as well count Widerøe and SAS as the same company.


alan3 wrote:
That Norsk Atlantic are trying to do (long haul low cost) what Norwegian JUST gave up on is what baffles me likely the most.


The owners obviously think it is worth throwing money after. But as I wrote, I don't think they will have much of a Norwegian presence at all. They'll have about as much relevance to the Norwegian market as the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line had on the Norwegian shipping industry.


alan3 wrote:
One area Flyr seems to want to compete is from Norway to European sun holiday destinations. These routes are already served by Ryanair, Norwegian, SAS, TUI and an airline called Sunclass. So seems there will be a hyper level of competition on that market!


Flyr is a low cost carrier. They will compete head to head with Norwegian, and if you ask me, only one will survive. The charter/package holiday business in Scandinavia is a separate thing, which is the segment Sunclass, TUI, JetTime and Novair sit in.
 
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PatrickZ80
Posts: 4679
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:33 am

Re: Why does Norway have so many airlines?

Wed Jun 02, 2021 9:19 am

Norway doesn't have that many airlines for a European country, they have a normal amount.

Compare this with for example Poland, which has more airlines than Norway. Of course there is LOT Polish Airlines, however next to LOT there's also Buzz (Ryanair Poland), Enter Air, Skytaxi, SprintAir and Smartwings Poland. On top of that Wizzair has a large presence in Poland.

The same is true for most European countries, Norway is no exception.
 
VSMUT
Posts: 5497
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:40 am

Re: Why does Norway have so many airlines?

Wed Jun 02, 2021 10:15 am

PatrickZ80 wrote:
Compare this with for example Poland, which has more airlines than Norway. Of course there is LOT Polish Airlines, however next to LOT there's also Buzz (Ryanair Poland), Enter Air, Skytaxi, SprintAir and Smartwings Poland. On top of that Wizzair has a large presence in Poland.


Ryanair Poland/Buzz is a flag of convenience/union busting operation, they have no allegiance to Poland, they fly everywhere. Sprint Air is a Polish company but for the most part flies from other countries. Smartwings Poland and Skytaxi are tiny, with respectively 1 and 2 aircraft.
 
FCOTSTW
Posts: 289
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:14 pm

Re: Why does Norway have so many airlines?

Wed Jun 02, 2021 3:19 pm

Taxation and fiscal policy. That is all. It is the same reason why Russian airlines do not register any of their assets in Russia. they are then free to establish bases anywhere they like in the world.

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