|Founded||19 February 1934|
|Hubs|| • Bergen-Flesland
• Oslo-Torp (Sandefjord)
|Company slogan||Hele Norge. Hele tiden (Norwegian). All of Norway. All the time (English).|
|Key people||Stein Nilsen (CEO)|
Widerøe's Flyveselskap AS, trading as Widerøe, is the largest regional airline operating in the Nordic countries. Its fleet of 41 Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft serves 41 domestic and 6 international destinations. Widerøe has a turnover of 2.9 billion kr; carries 2.93 million annual passengers; has 3,000 employees and performs 400 take-offs and landings each day.[clarification needed] Public service obligation services to regional airports make up slightly less than half of Widerøe's operations. The remaining services are to primary airports in Northern Norway, and services from Sandefjord Airport, Torp and Bergen Airport, Flesland to other primary airports, and some international services from Oslo/Gardermoen, Sandefjord/Torp, Kristiansand/Kjevik, Stavanger/Sola, Bergen/Flesland and Trondheim/Værnes.
The company's head offices are in Bodø, although it retains a large administrative center in Lysaker. The main bases are Sandefjord Airport, Torp, Bodø Airport, Tromsø Airport, Bergen Airport, Flesland and Oslo Airport, Gardermoen. Widerøe's operations are focused on point-to-point transit, although the airline essentially feeds medium-haul and international airlines. Widerøe has interlining agreements and participates in EuroBonus for international flights.
The airline was founded in 1934, and was engaged in various general aviation activities. In 1936, Widerøe started scheduled seaplane flights and, from 1940, also ambulance flights. During the 1940s and 1950s, the airline increased its seaplane routes and established a fleet based on de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter and Noorduyn Norseman aircraft. From 1968, Widerøe started flying to STOLports built in northern and western Norway using DHC-6 Twin Otters, and later also with Dash 7 aircraft. In 1989, Widerøe bought Norsk Air and started services from Sandefjord. During the 1990s, it replaced all its aircraft with Dash 8 aircraft; in the 2000s it was bought by the SAS Group and took over SAS Commuter's operations in northern Norway. In 2010, Widerøe took over regional SAS services in western Norway.
Widerøe was established on the foundations of two small aircraft operators. The first was the company Lotsberg & Skappel. The other was Widerøe & Bjørneby, which was founded by Viggo Widerøe and Halvor Bjørneby. During the winter, they stationed aircraft at mountain resorts and made revenue from flying skiers into the wilderness. Aerial advertising flights were introduced, in which a company or product name was painted on an aircraft's fuselage, with a neon-light version underneath, and leaflets dropped mid-flight.
On 19 February 1934, Widerøe's Flyveselskap A/S was founded by Viggo Widerøe, Einar Isdahl and Arild Widerøe. In 1935, the company started in the cartography business. In 1937, the company made 44 flights along the coast of Antarctica, covering 4,000 kilometres (2,500 mi) of coast at least 50 kilometres (31 mi) inland. These flights were ordered by Lars Christensen for cartography. During 1938, the company's Bogstad workshop and Birger Hønningstad started a joint venture in which Widerøe built Hønningstad Norge aircraft.
Following the outbreak of World War II, all pilots were conscripted into the military and there was a ban on civilian aviation. In 1940, the company started air ambulance flights for the military. Following the German invasion of Norway, many of Widerøe's pilots and aircraft were flown to Mjøsa where they served as part of the defence. All civilian aircraft were grounded during the occupation, and German authorities demanded that magnetos and propellers be handed in. The workshop at Bogstad was kept busy with production of ambulance sleds for the German military. In secret, the company also started building the Hønningstad C-5 Polar ambulance aircraft at Bogstad.
After the liberation of Norway in 1945, there was still a flight ban, and the employees at Bogstad were hired by the Royal Norwegian Air Force at Oslo Airport, Fornebu. The company received permission to fly from 2 February 1946. In 1947, Forenede Industrier bought the majority of the company. Viggo Widerøe was again hired as managing director.
In 1948, the company merged with Narvik-based Polarfly, and changed its name to Widerøe's Flyveselskap & Polarfly A/S. The following year, the company began an aerial photography operation. In 1953, the company chose to differentiate, and started production of emergency rafts; refrigerated garages in aluminium; and thermo elements for industry. In 1954, the company received a subcontract from Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), the successor of DNL, to operate a seaplane route from Tromsø via Alta, Hammerfest and Kirkenes to Vadsø. For this route, the company bought its first de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter. On 1 July 1958, the company changed its name back to Widerøe's Flyveselskap A/S.
In 1969, Per Bergsland replaced Viggo Widerøe as CEO. In 1970, the company was split in two: the aerial photography division was sold to competitor Fjellanger, and the new company Fjellanger Widerøe was created. Scheduled services remained with Widerøe. The airline's last seaplane was decommissioned in 1971. In April 1980, Widerøe started an international service on behalf of SAS.
Widerøe has been awarded public service obligation contracts by the Ministry of Transport and Communications to connect regional airports to primary airports. Twenty-five such airports were served in a contract running from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2012, with the company having lost the bid for services to three. The services connect smaller communities and towns to regional centers and to primary airports which provide onwards service with jet aircraft.
Eight airports in Finnmark and one in Troms are connected to Tromsø Airport, with a limited number of services also connecting to two of the three primary airports in Finnmark—Alta and Kirkenes. Between Tromsø and Bodø, Widerøe serves six airports, of which two connect to Tromsø and all to Bodø. South of Bodø, there are six airports in Helgeland and Namdalen, which are all connected to Bodø and Trondheim Airport, Værnes. In Sogn og Fjordane and Sunnmøre, Widerøe connects four airports to Oslo Airport, Gardermoen and Bergen Airport, Flesland.
Widerøe's main domestic hauling between primary airports is from its base at Sandefjord Airport, Torp. Services are provided up to five times per day to Trondheim, Stavanger and Bergen, as well as seasonal services to Bodø and Tromsø. In Northern Norway, Widerøe operates some services connecting primary airports, including the links from Tromsø to Alta, Hammerfest, Kirkenes and Vadsø Airport, and connecting Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenes to Tromsø, Bodø and Trondheim.
International services are provided to and from five Norwegian airports to seven foreign airports in Sweden, Denmark and the United Kingdom. From Sandefjord and Trondheim, Widerøe connects to Scandinavian Airlines' hub at Copenhagen Airport. From Oslo, Widerøe operates four daily services to Göteborg Landvetter Airport, as well as summer routes to Visby Airport and Bornholm Airport. From Bergen and Stavanger, Widerøe serves Aberdeen Airport and from Stavanger Newcastle Airport.
In 2010, Widerøe took over the regional routes previously operated by SAS in Western Norway; these connect Kristiansand and Kristiansund Airport, Kvernberget to Stavanger and Bergen, and Haugesund and Molde to Bergen. These routes will replace the SAS Fokker 50 aircraft with -300 and Q400 aircraft.
In 2016 the airline was awarded a five-year contract by the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications to operate 13 of Norway's Public Service Obligation routes and will start operating the routes in April 2017.
Widerøe has codeshare agreements with the following airlines (as of January 2015):
Since 2000, the airline has operated a fleet consisting entirely of de Havilland Canada/Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft. As of 2012, Widerøe is the first and only airline in the world to operate every single variant of the Dash 8 simultaneously, and is one of the few airlines to ever operate all variants of the Dash 8, as well as the older DHC-6 Twin Otter and Dash 7. In 2008, Widerøe was the world's third-largest operator of the -100-series, behind Piedmont Airlines and Jazz. In January 2017, it was announced that Widerøe had signed a contract with Embraer for up to 15 new Embraer jets, with firm orders for three E190-E2 aircraft and purchase rights on 12 more jets from the Embraer E2 family. The airline will be the first to operate the E190-E2 model, and is its first jet aircraft type, previously having had an all-turboprop fleet. Delivery of the jets is scheduled for the first half of 2018.
As of January 2017 the Widerøe fleet consists of the following aircraft:
|de Havilland Canada Dash 8-100||20||—||39|
|Bombardier Dash 8-Q200||3||—||39|
|Bombardier Dash 8-300||7||—||50|
|Bombardier Dash 8 Q400||11||—||78|
|Embraer E190-E2||—||3||114||Launch customer, deliveries in 2018|
The Dash 8-100, Dash 8-Q200 and Dash 8-300 can operate on the many short runway airports in Norway, and Widerøe is the main operator on them. New aircraft of those type are no longer produced.
EuroBonus frequent flyer points can be earned on all international routes, and all commercial domestic routes. Points can be redeemed on international routes and domestic routes not part of the public service obligation.
Complimentary coffee, tea and water is offered on all flights with Dash 8 Q400 and Dash 8 Q300/300 aircraft, if the flight is scheduled for 45 minutes or more. On international flights, in flex/business class a complimentary meal is offered, and cold drinks are for free. Flights before 09:30 have breakfast; on later flights there is a snack. On flights to the United Kingdom, flexible ticket holders receive a better breakfast on flights before 09:30, and a meal and dessert after then. On routes operated on Dash 8-100 aircraft, snacks and cold drinks are for sale; no other refreshments are served on these aircraft, due to there being no galley on board.
Incidents and accidents
- On 5 March 1964, a Douglas DC-3 caught fire before takeoff at Oslo Airport, Fornebu. All 18 occupants survived, but the aircraft was written off.
- On 28 March 1968, an Otter seaplane crashed at Rossfjordstraumen. There were no fatalities, but the aircraft was written off.
- On 11 March 1982, Widerøe Flight 933, operated by a Twin Otter registered LN-BNK, crashed into the Barents Sea near Gamvik, en route from Berlevåg Airport to Mehamn Airport. All investigations have concluded that the crash resulted from structural failure of the aircraft's tail caused by severe clear-air turbulence. However, there has been significant controversy surrounding this, as claims have been made that the aircraft collided with a Harrier Jump Jet of the British Royal Air Force flying outside its designated operations area during a NATO exercise.
- On 6 May 1988, Widerøe Flight 710, operated by a Dash 7, crashed near Brønnøysund, killing all 36 passengers on board in the worst-ever Dash 7 accident. The accident occurred when the aircraft, on approach from Namsos Airport, descended from 1500 ft to 550 ft too early in the landing procedure, colliding with the mountain Torghatten.
- On 12 April 1990, Widerøe Flight 839, operated by a Twin Otter, crashed into the sea one minute after take-off from Værøy Airport, killing all five on board. The crash was caused by strong and unpredictable wind gusts during take-off, which had exceeded the aircraft's structural limits and created a break-up of its rudder, rendering it uncontrollable. The airport was closed down after the accident and replaced by Værøy Heliport.
- On 27 October 1993, Widerøe Flight 744, operated by a Twin Otter, crashed while approaching Namsos Airport, Høknesøra en route from Trondheim Airport, Værnes, killing the crew and 4 passengers. Having descended from 1100 ft, the aircraft was supposed to stabilize at an altitude of 500 ft but instead continued to descend, until it crashed into a ridge 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the airport.
- On 14 June 2001, the starboard main undercarriage of a Dash 8-100 aircraft collapsed on landing at Båtsfjord Airport after a flight from Alta Airport, resulting in substantial damage to the aircraft. No injuries were reported to the three crew and 24 passengers on board. The aircraft, LN-WIS, was written off.
- On 1 May 2005, a Dash 8-100 registered LN-WIK crashed during landing at Hammerfest Airport. Just before landing the wind speed veered and increased, creating a tail wind. The increase in the descent rate was compensated, but was insufficient, and the aircraft touched down on the right main landing gear, with the leg failing and the aircraft sliding on its belly. The aircraft was written off and Widerøe was criticized for permitting landings under high winds and gusts. The Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority imposed stricter wind regulations on the airport.
- On 15 September 2010, Dash 8-100 LN-WIF made an emergency landing at Sandnessjøen Airport, Stokka. Just before landing, the aircraft was hit by a strong gust of wind and the starboard landing gear collapsed upon landing. There were 39 passengers and 4 crew aboard, all were evacuated safely.
- "Headquarters." Widerøe. Retrieved on 15 November 2009. "Widerøes Flyveselskap AS Langstranda 6 P.O Box 247 8001 Bodø Norway" and "Part of our administration is based at Lysaker just outside Oslo. Widerøes Flyveselskap AS Fornebuveien 38/40 0080 Oslo Norway"
- Arnesen, 1984: 6–9
- Arnesen, 1984: 35–39
- Arnesen, 1984: 42–48
- Arnesen, 1984: 61–67
- "Destinations". Widerøe. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "About Eurobonus". Widerøe. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "Widerøe". Airliner World (December 2016): 9.
- "World Airliner Census". Flight International: 41–63. 19–25 September 2008. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "Wideroe turns to jets with Embraer 190-E2 order". www.flightglobal.com. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
- "Norway's Widerøe to be the E190-E2 Launch Operator". www.embraer.com. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
- "About the company". Wideroe.no. Wideroe's Flyveselskap AS. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
- Nilsen, Thomas (16 January 2017). "Widerøe buys jets to strengthen route network". thebarentsobserver.com. The Independent Barents Observer AS. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
- "In-flight meals". Widerøe. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "05 Mar 1964". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "28 Mar 1968". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "11 Mar 1982". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "06 May 1988". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "12 Apr 1990". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- Accident Investigation Board Norway (1991). "Rapport of luftfartsulykke ved Værøy lufthavn den 12. april 1990 med Twin Otter LN-BNS" (PDF) (in Norwegian).
- "27 Oct 1993". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- Accident Investigation Board Norway (1996). "Rapport om luftfartsulykke ved Namsos den 27. oktober 1993 med DHC-6-300 Twin Otter, LN-BNM" (PDF) (in Norwegian).
- "14 Jun 2001". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- Accident Investigation Board Norway. "Rapport om luftfartsulykke med Widerøes DeHavilland DHC-8-103 LN-WIS på Båtsfjor lufthavn 14. juni 2001" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "01 May 2005". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "Rapport om luftfartsulykke på Hammerfest lufthavn 1. mai 2005 med DHC-8-103 LN-WIK operert av Widerøes flyveselskap AS" (in Norwegian). Accident Investigation Board Norway. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "Ødela understellet ved hard landing". Helgelands Blad (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2010-09-15.
- Arnesen, Odd (1984). På grønne vinger over Norge (in Norwegian). Widerøe's Flyveselskap.
- Watle, Per Arne (2004). Oppdrift i motvind (in Norwegian). Oslo: Abstract Forlag.
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