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Norwegian celebrates 20th anniversary and more than 300 million passengers 

Press release -

Norwegian celebrates 20th anniversary and more than 300 million passengers 

Today Norwegian celebrates 20 years since the airline’s very first flight. More than 300 million passengers have travelled with Norwegian since 2002.

On September 1st, at 14.00 CET in 2002, the very first Boeing 737 flight with Norwegian from Oslo to Bergen took off, marking the birth of the new airline. During the past 20 years, Norwegian has welcomed more than 300 million passengers on board. On the Oslo-Bergen route alone, the airline has carried 15 million passengers.

Norwegian is Norway’s largest airline with 4,000 employees, and with the Nordics as Norwegian’s main market, the airline today offers a large route network across Europe. In 2002, Norwegian operated four domestic routes in Norway, and by the summer season of 2022 the company operated 280 routes and 108 destinations across Norway, the Nordics and Europe.

“Norwegian’s development during the past 20 years would not have been possible without our passengers, and our goal – affordable flights for all – was well received by travellers since the very first day. Not everyone in the industry was happy about the new competition but since then, airfares have dropped and Norwegian has made air travel accessible to the wider public. I would like to thank our passengers and employees for making Norwegian a 20-year-old with a bright looking future ahead,” said Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian.

In 2002, Norwegian operated seven aircraft with about 300 employees. The following year, which was the first full year of operation, more than 1.2 million passengers travelled with Norwegian. In comparison, the company carried about 2.2 million passengers in July 2022 only.

The 20th birthday was celebrated at Oslo airport in connection with the anniversary flight to Bergen, exactly 20 years after Norwegian’s very first flight. Norwegian’s founder Bjørn Kjos, State Secretary Jacob Bjelland from the Norwegian Ministry of Transport, and CEO Abraham Foss from the airport operator Avinor, were present to take part in the celebration.

From left: Norwegian's founder Bjørn Kjos and CEO Geir Karlsen attended the 20th anniversary at Oslo Gardermoen Airport.

The crew members are wearing the same uniform that was used in 2002. Here together with CEO Geir Karlsen.

All passengers on board the anniversary flight from Oslo to Bergen received a gift card. CEO Geir Karlsen is talking to passengers.   


About Norwegian

Norwegian was founded in 1993 but began operating as a low-cost carrier with Boeing 737 aircraft in 2002. Since then, our mission has been to offer affordable fares for all and to allow customers to travel the smart way by offering value and choice throughout their journey.

Norwegian has been voted Europe’s Best Low-Cost airline by Skytrax for six consecutive years and won Airline Program of the Year Europe & Africa at the Freddie Awards for four consecutive years. Since 2012, Norwegian has won over 55 awards for our service, product, and innovation in the industry.

We were the first airline in the world to join the UN Climate Secretariat’s climate action-initiative in 2019, pledging to work systematically to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Norwegian operates a short haul network across the Nordics and to key European destinations providing customers with excellent quality at affordable fares.


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Norwegian is the largest Norwegian airline and one of Europe’s leading low-cost carriers. The company has around 4,500 employees and offers a comprehensive route network between Nordic countries and destinations in Europe. Since 2002, more than 300 million passengers have flown with Norwegian. The most important task has been to offer affordable plane tickets to all and to offer more freedom of choice along the journey.

Norwegian is a driving force for sustainable solutions and the transformation of the aviation industry. The company’s goal is to reduce its CO2 emissions by 45 percent within 2030. To this means, the company is renewing its fleet, promoting sustainable aviation fuel, reducing its waste, and using wind and weather data to calculate the most efficient fuel-saving flights routes. Norwegian wants to become the sustainable choice for its passengers.