Norwegian Air CEO steps down, sees 737 MAX flying in October

12 Juillet, 2019, 03:28 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Bjorn Kjos attends a press conference in Oslo in January

FRANKFURT-After 17 years as CEO of Norwegian Air Shuttle, and as the airline fights to achieve its financial turnaround, Bjoern Kjos has chose to step down-effective immediately-handing over responsibility to new Acting CEO Geir Karlsen, previously CFO and Deputy CEO."I'm not sorry [to go]", Kjos said at a July 11 press briefing. The company began as a small Norwegian airline at Oslo airport when he was a fighter pilot.

Norwegian Air's Bjoern Kjos said that he would continue working as an adviser to the airline's chairman, focused on industry alliances and building on a recent agreement with rival EasyJet.

"Norwegian Air is the life's work of Bjoern Kjos so it is understandable if he had issues with a takeover".

However, the firm has struggled to make profits and has also been hit by the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max plane. "And in the middle of this, the guy in the cockpit is taking a more peripheral role".

Norwegian Air expects to be able to operate flights again in October this year with Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which are now being grounded worldwide for safety reasons.

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At the same time, chairman, Niels Smedegaard, will take on a more active role in the management. On Thursday it said they would cost the company 700 million crowns in 2019.

The 737 Max fleet of jets was grounded after two crashes, the first a Lion Air flight which crashed into the sea off Jakarta a year ago, and the second an Ethiopian Airlines' flight which crashed shortly after take off from Addis Ababa in March. The company, which started with 130 employees and four planes, now has 162 aircraft.

Interim CEO Karlsen said talks to form a joint venture with a third party about its aircraft fleet ownership were progressing and that it expected to have clarity on this "within weeks".

Shares in the company dropped more than 7% in Oslo after it announced Kjos' departure and reported earnings for the second quarter.

Its net profit came in at 82.8 million Norwegian crowns ($9.7 million), down from 300.3 million in the same period a year ago, but ahead of the average forecast of 76.2 million from five analysts compiled by Refinitiv.

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