Norwegian Air Shuttle has announced a groundbreaking deal with WF Holding AS to acquire Widerøe, the oldest airline in Norway. The agreement, valued at NOK 1,125 million (105 million US dollars), is expected to strengthen the air travel infrastructure in the region, enhance customer options, and preserve Norwegian employment opportunities.
Widerøe services over 40 small and mid-sized airports throughout Norway and certain major airports in Europe. Norwegian provides connectivity to 114 destinations via 300 routes across the Nordics and Europe.
“This is a milestone in Norwegian aviation history,” said Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian. “We are two Norwegian airlines that have lived side by side for many years, and together we know the aviation market in the country very well. Now together we want to create an even better and comprehensive offer for all our passengers.”
Widerøe, with a 90-year history and a 20% market share of domestic routes measured by passenger numbers, will continue to function as its own entity under its existing brand, retaining its organization and head office in Bodø.
Besides its active Embraer 190-E2 fleet, the carrier has signed several agreements with the Brazilian manufacturer to explore Urban Mobility concepts focused on the deployment of eVTOL aircraft operations in Scandinavia.
The relationship between the two began in 2017, when Widerøe signed an order for up to 15 E190-E2 units. Scandinavia’s largest regional carrier also became the first customer for the new generation of the E-Jets E2 family, starting E190-E2 operations in April 2018 in Bergen, Norway.
“This agreement will ensure an even better offer for passengers in Norway, facilitate a more efficient operation that lays the foundation for a strong Norwegian aviation industry with Norwegian jobs and orderly working conditions,” added Karlsen.
The deal is expected to pave the way for the development of Norwegian tourism, with both airlines working together to offer attractive programs such as the Norwegian Reward loyalty program. Despite the consolidation, Widerøe will maintain existing agreements with other airlines, and both companies will continue to uphold their respective employment and collective agreements.
While the final price of the acquisition depends on Widerøe’s profitability in 2023, both parties are optimistic about the positive impact this merger will have on the Norwegian aviation industry. The acquisition awaits regulatory approval and the completion of other customary closing conditions.