Norwegian considers sell-lease back option for 140 aircraft


Oslo - A sale of over one hundred aircraft would give Norwegian the capital that the airline needs. Such a deal now seems to be on its way.

Norwegian delivered an excellent quarterly report with a stable surplus of almost two billion. Part of this revenue was from the sales of eight aircraft. The Nordic carrier now plans to continue to sell off more aircraft.

Norwegian's fleet has grown continuously from 6 aircraft in 2002 to 164 aircraft today. Growth then continues. The airline is expected to reach 212 aircraft by 2020. These are the firm orders that were placed with Airbus and Boeing since 2012.

The question now is how much of these aircraft will be owned by Norwegian. The airline is in talks with a number of leasing companies in Asia for the sales of up to 140 aircraft. In such a case, it should be done by placing the aircraft in a particular company, from which Norwegian leases them back.

The company is still pending. Chinese BOC Aviation is one of the world's largest players on the market. Another candidate is BBAM, which recently bought 84 Air Asia airplanes providing the airline nearly $1 billion in cash. A similar maneuver for Norwegian can produce as large or larger sums, especially if the original plan to sell up to 140 aircraft is stuck.

It's not just about getting new capital but finding a partner who can finance the aircraft,
says the airline CEO Björn Kjos.

Which aircraft types are concerned for the sales is not explained, but it is likely that all of the 90 Airbus aircraft, both the A320neos and the A321LRs, together with the existing Boeing 737-800s and 737 MAXs.