Norse Atlantic Airways (N0, Oslo Gardermoen) says talks with a potential strategic investor have failed but that it is continuing to look for a new partner, a press release issued by the company said.

The airline, which has both a Norwegian Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) and an AOC from the United Kingdom as Norse Atlantic (United Kingdom) (Z0, London Gatwick), hired investment bankers Seabury Securities to help it find either a strategic or a commercial partner. The deal with the unnamed investor was at an “advanced stage”, but since the sides failed to reach a formal agreement, Norse will continue working with Seabury Securities on new options.

“Our focus remains to deliver on our opportunistic and flexible business model by securing additional longer-term winter charter contracts and operating our own core summer routes when demand is at its highest. We will update the market and our shareholders regarding additional active strategic avenues as these progress,” Bjorn Tore Larsen, Norse Atlantic CEO and founder, stated.

The move to partner with an investor comes after the carrier’s financial struggles in 2023, which led its largest shareholders to provide the company with a USD20 million revolving credit facility in April. Those funds should help provide liquidity for the company to run until October.

Norse’s financial recovery

In the first quarter of 2024, Norse Atlantic ASA, the airline’s parent company, saw its revenue jump by 97% year on year to USD78.2 million as passenger numbers soared by 83% in the same period to 201,462. A strong contributor to the rising revenues was the increase in ACMI and charter operations, the company said in its quarterly report, stressing that it performed 107 of these flights in the first three months of the year.

Norse decided to focus strategically on holiday destinations and charters this winter, and Larsen noted that the company would further refine the strategy for the next winter season “with several longer-term contracts secured or under negotiation.”

After recording a net loss of USD168.6 million in the full year 2023, compared to a loss of USD175 million in 2022, the carrier saw its net loss decline to USD62.8 million in the first quarter of 2024 compared to USD70.9 million a year earlier. Furthermore, Norse’s ASK rose from 1.13 billion in the first three months of 2023, to 1.95 billion in the same period this year.

The airline’s UK AOC is set to expand its operations to Africa with a debut flight from London Gatwick to Cape Town International later this year. Additionally, Norse Atlantic Airways secured an ACMI deal to operate Neos Air’s flights with a B787-9 in the upcoming winter season while the UK AOC partnered with P&O Cruises for Caribbean ops.

Norse has a fleet of fifteen B787-9s. A total of eleven of those were used by Norse (including all subsidiaries), with one being a spare as of the end of the first quarter. Meanwhile, three aircraft were subleased to a third party at the time, with one due back for this summer season and the other two set to return in the second quarter of 2025 to cater to high summer demand. The airline hopes to operate 12 aircraft this summer and then expand to 15 by the summer of 2025. ch-aviation fleets shows that Norse operates seven B787-9s, with one of them flying for AlbaStar under a wet-lease agreement. Norse Atlantic Airways (United Kingdom) operates five aircraft. Among that group, one aircraft is operated for Air Peace.