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Norwegian Air Studies Ireland to Establish Budget Long-Haul Base

Aug. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, western Europe’s fourth-largest discount airline, may apply for a permanent Irish air operator’s certificate as it seeks to establish a low-cost base for its long-haul division.

“We’re having discussions and talks with Irish authorities to get a permanent air operator’s certificate,” Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen, a spokesman for the Fornebu, Norway-based airline said by telephone. “It suits our operations better.”

Norwegian last year ordered 222 Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS airliners valued at 127 billion kroner ($21.5 billion) and will begin flying its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner on long-haul routes from August 15. The second of eight Dreamliners will arrive later this month, Sandaker-Nielsen said. Both jets have temporary Irish registration, meaning the carrier can employ non-European Union-based pilots, making it possible to recruit crew members from places like Thailand, he said.

Only long-haul jets are being considered for registration outside of Norway, Sandaker-Nielsen said. The airline considered applying in other European countries including Sweden before settling on Ireland, he said.

Norwegian, founded in 1993, switched to a discount model in 2001, emulating Ryanair Holdings Plc and EasyJet Plc. It is western Europe’s fourth-largest low-cost airline, after Ryanair, EasyJet and Air Berlin Plc.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kari Lundgren in London at klundgren2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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