Quirky fashion brand Moods of Norway designs uniforms for Norwegian

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By Raymond Kollau,

Airlines have long used items such as onboard catering and crew uniforms to add a local touch to the passenger experience, be it often in a fairly traditional way. In recent years, however, several airlines in Europe have teamed up with local designers and brands to reinterpret elements of their inflight service in a more contemporary way.

A well-documented example is KLM’s ‘Internationally Dutch’ brand positioning, which has seen the airline collaborating with well-known Dutch designers such as Victor&Rolf, Marcel Wanders and Hella Jongerius for respectively amenity kits, tableware, seat design and fabrics. According to KLM, customers have indicated that they appreciate KLM’s typically Dutch character, so it decided to embrace Dutch Design.

Finnair, meanwhile, has raised its national profile through a collaboration with Finnish design house Marimekko for the design of textiles and tableware that is based on Marimekko’s iconic patterns. Commenting on the partnership, the airline said that “Our goal is to become a design airline and Finnair aircraft will become roving ambassadors of timeless Finnish design and creativity, giving our customers a special experience when they fly with us.”

Another forward-looking collaboration comes from Europe’s third-largest LCC, Norwegian, which has teamed with local hipster brand ‘Moods of Norway’ for the design of the uniforms for its crew on the airline’s long-haul low-cost flights.

Moods of Norway
In May 2013, Norwegian started its long-haul operations between Oslo, Stockholm and New York, Bangkok and Fort Lauderdale. As a part of the new service the carrier dressed the crew working on the long-haul routes with brand new uniforms designed by Moods of Norway.

Known for its quirky sense of humour, the Norwegian clothing brand bills itself “a happy brand” and has expanded internationally to Japan, Iceland and the USA.
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Norwegian’s long-haul low-cost Dreamliner features geotainment and in-seat ordering of food & beverages

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By Raymond Kollau,

Similar to Finnair’s ‘Via Helsinki’ hub strategy, Norwegian – Europe’s third largest low-cost carrier – aims to take advantage of the Nordic region’s favourable geographic location as the shortest route between Europe, North America and Asia. The airline sees an opportunity to capitalize on its extensive short-haul network and the limited number of direct long-haul flights from Oslo and Stockholm.

Short-haul network
Voted Europe’s best low-cost carrier in the 2013 SkyTrax World Airline Awards, Norwegian was the first (and still only) airline in Europe to offer high-speed broadband on short-haul flights. The airline’s full fleet of 75 Boeing 737-800 aircraft have WiFi on board, provided by Row44, and unusually for an LCC, the service is free of charge. Passengers can also rent movies via the wireless inflight portal and have access to a range of content via their smartphones, tablets or laptops.

Long-haul low-cost
At the end of May 2013, Norwegian launched its long-haul low-cost service to New York from Oslo and Stockholm – followed by Oslo to Bangkok in early June and from Stockholm to Bangkok at the end of June – with leased A340 aircraft. Both routes are operated by the airline’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliners since August 30th.

Android-based IFE
Whereas long-haul low-cost carriers such as AirAsia X, Scoot and Air Canada Rouge have opted for wireless IFE systems – and Jetstar rents out iPads to passengers – in order to cut costs, Norwegian has chosen to install an Android-based in-seat IFE system. The reason for this is that Boeing requires its 787s to have an in-seat IFE system (for now).

Norwegian’s 787 Dreamliners, which seat 291 passengers – 32 in Premium Class and 259 in Economy –are the first aircraft to feature Panasonic’s new Android powered in-seat in-flight entertainment system, the result of an 18-month joint development between Norwegian and Panasonic Avionics.

Says Paul Margis, CEO for Panasonic Avionics, “This open platform architecture facilitates faster, easier, application development, integration, and deployment, enabling Norwegian to engage passengers in an even more amazing entertainment experience while creating new revenue streams.”
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New long-haul low-cost airlines prepare for take-off in Scandinavia

So far, the only region where the low-cost, long-haul business model has truly taken off has been the Asia-Pacific. In Europe, airberlin is currently the sole low-cost carrier to have established a long-haul operation, operating 13 A330s (it also ordered 15 B787s). The airline uses its extensive domestic network to feed its long-haul flights from Dusseldorf to New York, LA, San Francisco, Vancouver, Dubai, Beijing, and holiday destinations in the Caribbean, Africa and Thailand. Airberlin also just entered the Oneworld alliance and, amongst others, will codeshare with American Airlines to feed/connect its passengers in the USA. Ryanair has been hinting to start trans-atlantic routes with a separate company (rumoured to be named Ryanair Atlantic), but has shelved these plans until 2015. 

Now, two airlines in Scandinavia aim to take advantage of the Nordic region’s geographic location between North America and Asia (as Finnair successfully does with its ‘Via Helsinki’ hub). Norwegian, the fourth-largest low-cost carrier in Europe has plans to established up to 20 long-haul routes from Scandinavia to Asia and the USA, capitalizing on its large regional network. The airline plans to start operations in 2011, in time for summer season, and eventually may order up to 15 widebodies, possibly B787’s. Norwegian has listed New York and Bangkok as initial destinations and has also mentioned Miami, the American west coast, New Delhi and Beijing. Flights will mainly be from its Oslo-hub, but also from Copenhagen and Stockholm. Norwegian plans to operate a 2-class configuration, with prices from Euro 200/400 return in Economy/Business to New York.
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