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Sir Freddie Laker returns to the skies on Norwegian’s first Boeing 737 MAX

Press Release   •  Jul 17, 2017 10:22 BST

  • British pioneer of low-cost long-haul painted on Norwegian’s new Boeing 737 MAX
  • New 737 MAX entered commercial service at the weekend on flights from Edinburgh

Low-cost airline Norwegian’s first transatlantic flights using the brand-new Boeing 737 MAX took off from Edinburgh this weekend, with British aviation maverick Sir Freddie Laker featuring as the aircraft’s tail fin hero.

The pioneer of low-cost long-haul travel’s portrait is emblazoned on the tail fin of Norwegian’s brand new 737 MAX, Boeing’s newest aircraft type. The Sir Freddie Laker 737 MAX departed Edinburgh for the first time on Saturday evening to Hartford, Connecticut and serviced yesterday afternoon’s flight from Edinburgh to Stewart Intl. in New York.

Norwegian’s brand new 737 MAX offers up to 189 seats and a longer range which allows the airline to serve smaller cities on both sides of the Atlantic and offer truly affordable fares. The airline always honours iconic figures on the tails of its aircraft, featuring personalities who reflect the spirit of Norwegian through innovation, pioneering achievement and inspiring others.

Sir Freddie Laker was born in Canterbury in 1922 andhad a long career in aviation, working for aircraft manufacturer Short Brothers, delivering military aircraft during World War Two, and setting up several airline ventures post-war. Sir Freddie was best known for founding Laker Airways and the ‘Skytrain’ service which first took to the air in September 1977, offering flights from London Gatwick to New York JFK for the then ground-breaking fare of £59.

Laker was a popular public figure and knighted by the UK Government in 1978 for services to the airline industry. As one of the first people to challenge established airlines by applying a ‘low-cost’ model to air travel, Laker set the template for the many ‘low-cost carriers’ that dominate modern-day aviation – his pioneering approach also coming long before the huge benefits of efficient new aircraft, the internet marketplace and more liberalised industry that modern airlines can now take advantage of.

Sir Freddie’s legacy has been a clear inspiration to Norwegian’s own low-cost long-haul growth which has now expanded to more than 50 transatlantic routes between Europe and the U.S. Last month, Norwegian launched 12 new routes from the UK and Ireland to the US East Coast, using the brand-new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Thomas Ramdahl, Chief Commercial Officer said“It’s fantastic to see our first Boeing 737 MAX and Sir Freddie Laker take to the skies. Sir Freddie Laker is truly an inspirational figure to Norwegian’s model of offering affordable fares to everybody, so it is a great honour to have him adorn our aircraft and become our first British tail fin hero on the 737 MAX.”

Norwegian will take delivery of six Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in total this summer. The airline has taken delivery of two aircraft so far which have now gone into service. The remaining four 737 MAX aircraft will be delivered and go into service over the coming weeks – one of the next aircraft will feature the author Jonathan Swift.

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 three consecutive years at the renowned SkyTrax Awards, and the Europe’s Best Low-Cost Airline for five consecutive years.

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Notes to Editors:

  • Please find attached images of the Sir Freddie Laker tail fin aircraft for editorial use

Norwegian in the UK:

  • Norwegian carries 5.2 million UK passengers each year from London Gatwick, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester Airports to 50 destinations worldwide
  • Norwegian is the third largest airline at London Gatwick, with 4.6 million yearly passengers, and with more than 800 UK-based pilots and cabin crew
  • In 2014, Norwegian introduced the UK’s first low-cost, long haul flights to the U.S. - the airline now flies to 7 U.S destinations with fares from just £139 one way
  • Norwegian is the only airline to offer free inflight WiFi on UK flights to more than 30 European destinations
  • The airline has one of the youngest aircraft fleets in the world with an average age of 3.6 years, including next-generation Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Boeing 737-800s
  • Norwegian has been voted ‘Europe’s best low-cost carrier’ by passengers for four consecutive years at SkyTrax World Airline Awards from 2013-2016, along with being awarded the ‘World's best low-cost long-haul airline’ in both 2015 and 2016