Norwegian Air Shuttle (Oslo Gardermoen) is to acquire Widerøe (WF, Bodø) in a NOK1.125 billion Norwegian krone (USD105 million) transaction that will see the two airlines continue to operate as stand-alone entities.

In a July 6 stock market filing, Norwegian said the acquisition would enhance both airlines. "The transaction is expected to be highly accretive through linking non-overlapping complementary route networks, enabling significant operational synergies and added diversification through Widerøe’s public service operation routes," the filing read.

According to ch-aviation fleets data, Widerøe operates 48 aircraft, including twenty DHC-8-100s, three DHC-8-Q100s, three DHC-8-Q200s, four DHC-8-Q300s, fifteen DHC-8-Q400s, and three E190-E2s. The airline flies a variety of public service obligation, regional, and international routes to 55 airports in 10 countries. Widerøe commands a 20% market share within Norway and reported revenues of NOK5.7 billion (USD532 million) in 2022.

Norwegian (Norwegian Air Shuttle AOC and Norwegian Air Sweden AOC) has a larger fleet size - 81 aircraft, including sixty-eight B737-800s and thirteen B737-8s, spread across a larger network, and flies to 102 airports in 35 countries. Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian, says Widerøe's network of mostly small and regional airports around Norway complements Norwegian's focus on mainline domestic and international routes. He says the acquisition will offer tangible benefits to both airlines, including;

  • Improving Norwegian's reach into regional Norway, including bringing Norwegian's low-cost model to that market;
  • Improving Norwegian's share of the domestic business market and reducing seasonal impacts;
  • Offering Widerøe operational scale benefits and robust industrial and financial backing;
  • Offering Widerøe's approximately 3,500 employees improved career opportunities;
  • Improved capacity to invest in sustainability across both airlines;
  • Strategic and operational benefits from complementary route networks; and
  • Cost synergies and efficiencies for both airlines.

Karlsen said Widerøe will operate as a separate business unit and remain independent from Norwegian's low-cost model. All current employees will remain with their respective airlines under current employment contracts.

He adds that Norwegian will finance the acquisition through available funds, saying that the final price is subject to certain adjustments after closing, including Widerøe's profits this year. Subject to regulatory approvals, Norwegian hopes to close the sale by the end of calendar 2023.