REUTERS SUMMIT-Norwegian Air says younger fleet key to greener skies

OSLO: Norwegian Air Shuttle will cut the average age of its fleet to less than four years, seeing younger planes as the key both to cutting fuel bills and limiting climate change, chief executive Bjoern Kjos said.

Huge plane orders in 2012 will help Norwegian, Europe’s number three budget airline behind Ryanair and easyJet  in terms of passenger numbers, to a goal of cutting emissions per passenger by 30 percent from 2008 to 2015.

“The best an air company can do (to cut greenhouse gas emissions) is to fly modern planes,” Kjos said in an interview for the Oct. 13-16 Reuters Global Climate Change Summit.

“We will get down below four years in average age for the fleet.

And we will stay there,” said Kjos, a former fighter pilot who drives a Tesla electric car to work.

“A plane can last 25 years but we will fly it less than 10 years.”

Norwegian’s fleet, which had an average age of 4.6 years in 2013, will become among the world’s most modern, he said.

The average age of the world civil aviation fleet is about 12 years.

The company, which now has about 100 planes, placed the biggest ever aircraft European aircraft order in 2012 by signing up for 222 jets from Boeing and Airbus.

New planes use far less fuel and so cost less to fly, Kjos said, adding that action on climate change is also “a social responsibility” for businesses.

Norwegian is also the first budget airline in years to venture into the long-haul market, including transatlantic flights such as from London to Los Angeles. It operates seven Boeing 787 Dreamliners on long-haul routes.

Source: APP