Published on : Saturday, April 8, 2017
Norwegian CEO and Founder Bjørn Kjos last night received an ‘Outstanding Contribution to Aviation’ award from the Irish aviation industry, calling the accolade a “true honor” and dedicating it to the huge support Norwegian has received across Ireland in recent years.
Kjos co-founded Norwegian in 1993 with the airline rapidly growing from a domestic carrier in Norway into Europe’s third-largest low cost carrier today. Norwegian now flies more than 30 million passengers each year to over 150 global destinations.
To support Norwegian’s European and global growth, an Irish subsidiary Norwegian Air International (NAI) was established in 2013 with a headquarters in Dublin – NAI now has nearly 2,100 pilots and crew, with 57 Irish-registered aircraft operating over 260 flights each day from 11 European bases.
Earlier this year it was announced that NAI will also operate 19 new weekly transatlantic flights from Cork, Shannon and Dublin to the United States’ east coast this summer. As well as delivering new routes and significant economic benefits on both sides of the Atlantic, Norwegian is also establishing two new pilot and crew bases in the U.S. to serve the routes, creating several hundred jobs.
The launch of new transatlantic flights from Ireland followed Norwegian’s long-running application for a Foreign Carrier Permit with the U.S. authorities. In receiving the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Aviation’accolade last night, CEO Bjørn Kjos praised the significant and crucial support of the Irish community in securing the much needed permit.
Speaking at Ireland’s Aviation Gala Ball, organised by the Irish Aviation Authority in Dublin last night Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos said: “This award is a tremendous honor but there are many people that helped me and Norwegian to get here today. I want to thank the aviation industry and particularly the Irish community for their huge support throughout Norwegian’s growth.
“Securing a US permit simply wouldn’t have been possible without the huge support we received across Ireland. In particular I want to thank the Irish Government, including An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, the current Minister of Transport, Shane Ross and two of his former predecessors, and a very special thank you to Eamonn Brennan from the IAA for all his assistance. Thanks also to the many airports, airlines and business groups who helped push this issue continuously.
“Receiving our US permit was a victory for passengers above all, allowing us to offer new routes and more choice as well as hundreds of new jobs in Europe and the US. New routes, greater competition and more jobs – exactly what we promised and exactly what the Open Skies agreement is for.
“Thank you again for this accolade – it is a true honour but I wouldn’t be here without your help so I would like to dedicate it to everyone in Ireland that has supported us over the last few years.”
Earlier on Friday, Norwegian also announced Tom Crean as its first ever Irish tail fin hero with the explorer’s portrait set to appear on new 737MAX aircraft that will serve new transatlantic routes from Cork, Shannon and Dublin this summer. In collecting the IAA award, Bjørn Kjos also paid tribute to Tom Crean saying his achievements “are an inspiration to the whole industry never to give up in the face of adversity”.
In receiving the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Aviation’, Bjørn Kjos follows previous recipients of the award including IAG CEO Willie Walsh and CEO of Qantas Alan Joyce.
Norwegian is Europe’s third largest low-cost carrier, carrying 30 million yearly passengers to more than 140 global destinations. Norwegian has been voted the Best Low-Cost Long-Haul Airline for two consecutive years at the renowned SkyTrax Awards, and the Europe’s Best Low-Cost Airline for four consecutive years.