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Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos withdraws

Norwegian Air Shuttle Boeing 737-800. Photo: © Andy Mitchell

Norwegian Air Shuttle founder and CEO Bjørn Kjos will step down immediately, the company said.

Kjos, 72, took over the company in 2002 and is responsible for the rapid expansion of previous years. It transformed the Norwegian regional carrier established in 1993 into the third largest low-cost air carrier in Europe with subsidiaries in Sweden, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Argentina.

At the same time, the troubled carrier announced a net profit of US $ 9.2 million for the second quarter and announced its willingness to remove several long-haul routes all year round for summer seasonal routes.

Norwegian has accumulated more than US $ 500 million in debt in recent years and has faced two attempts to purchase British Airways' parent company, IAG (International Airlines Group).

The airline originally had only short-haul flights to Norway before Kjos assumed the role of CEO and turned Norwegian into a growing airline. Long-haul flights began in early 2013 with flights from Oslo and Stockholm to New York and Bangkok. Norwegian and its various subsidiaries operate a combined fleet of 162 aircraft, most of which are Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX 8 on the ground, as well as 36 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Earlier, the airline announced the closure of several crew bases to improve its operations. The Argentinean subsidiary is not doing as well as expected and has a few more months to improve load factors and revenues, otherwise it would be closed. 90 Airbus A320neo family aircraft ordered (commissioned by the Norwegian leasing company Arctic Aviation Assets) were also offered for sale.

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