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Norwegian Air CEO resigns and sees the 737 MAX fly in October

A Boeing 737, operated by the Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, takes off from London Gatwick Airport in Crawley, UK.

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Bjoern Kjos, of Norwegian Air, stepped down Thursday as managing director of the budget company he co-founded.

Kjos, a former fighter pilot, helped build a tiny Norwegian airline based in prefabricated barracks near Oslo Airport, becoming the third largest budget carrier in the world. Europe by the number of passengers.

The airline has upset the long-haul market with low-cost transatlantic fares, but its rapid expansion has left it with heavy losses and high debt, and it has had to raise $ 3 billion ($ 350 million) from of its shareholders earlier this year.

"I am confident that the board of directors will find the best qualified successor to lead the next chapters of Norwegian history with the leadership team," said Kjos, 72, in a statement.

The airline also said it expected its 18 Boeing on the ground 737 MAX to be put back into service in October, compared to its previous forecast of recommissioning in August.

The planes have been immobilized worldwide since March, following two fatal accidents, and Norwegian Air said the disruption could defeat its plans to return to profitability this year.

The company also announced second-quarter results higher than expected on Thursday.

Its net profit was 82.8 million crowns, up from 300.3 million for the same period last year, but ahead of the average forecast of 76.2 million set by five analysts compiled by Refinitiv.

The company lowered its passenger capacity target to 0-5% from 5-10% previously.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and restructuring or lease costs (EBITDAR), excluding "other" losses or gains on items such as foreign exchange contracts and forward fuel contracts, should to reach 6 to 7 billion crowns in 2019., against 3.2 billion in 2018.

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