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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Norse Atlantic Sets Up First Flight Attendant Base in Florida

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Long-distance low-cost airline As it prepares to launch ticket sales by the end of March, Norse Atlantic will create its first flight attendant base in Florida rather than in its home base of Oslo, Norway.

The airline’s first pilot base will remain in Oslo, and training has already begun in preparation for its launch.

Flight attendant training will begin soon, and Norse has promised to hire at least 700, U.S.-based flight attendants, after reaching an agreement with the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA).

The United States Department of Transportation gave Norse a foreign operators permit this month, marking a “major milestone” for the startup airline.

The decision by the Biden administration to award Norse a permit to fly long-haul flights to and from the United States was praised by Sara Nelson, president of the influential flight attendants union.

Unlike Norwegian Airlines, which withdrew from the transatlantic market during the pandemic, Norse will hire employees immediately into union roles.

Norwegian opted to hire through a low-cost third-party agency and first turned down unionization, angering Nelson and other aviation union officials.

Surprisingly, Norse Atlantic is the brainchild of Bjrn Tore Larsen, the head of the Norwegian employment agency. Bjrn Kjos, the co-founder of Norwegian, is also a member of the Norse Atlantic board of directors.

That isn’t the only resemblance to Norwegian. The new airline would operate similar itineraries from secondary U.S. airports such as New York Stewart, Ontario (California), and Fort Lauderdale, utilizing Boeing 787 Dreamliners that were previously owned by Norwegian.

Larsen, on the other hand, argues that nothing has been completed yet.

“Future customers and supporters on both sides of the Atlantic are reaching out to us every day asking about when they can start buying tickets, when we will be airborne and not least what routes we will be offering,” Larsen said on Friday.

“We are thrilled about the interest in the market and can confirm that our goal is to launch ticket sales by the end of March and our first flight to take off in the second quarter.”

“We are working on finalizing our route network and look forward to announcing our destinations when we open for sale,” he added.

Norse Atlantic claims it had 3,000 applications for only 50 pilot vacancies in Oslo, and the airline is currently hiring 400 people. Until now, the airline has operated with a skeleton crew.

Norse also hopes to open crew bases in the United Kingdom and maybe France, in addition to the flight attendant base in Florida. However, those plans have not yet been completed.


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