Europe LCC fleets: Norwegian & easyJet shrink, Wizz Air & Ryanair grow

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Norwegian Group's latest restructuring includes removing all the widebodies from its fleet and almost halving its narrowbody fleet to 53 aircraft for summer 2021 (including three spare aircraft). This compares with a total fleet of more than 160 as recently as summer 2019, and 131 at the end of 2020.

For summer 2022, Norwegian aims to operate 68 narrowbodies, with a further two as spares. Of these, 40 will be based in Norway and 28 in other parts of Europe.

Norwegian was overtaken by Wizz Air Group in late 2020 as the third largest independent LCC fleet in Europe. EasyJet Group plans to cut its fleet by 11% in 2021, although its position as Europe's number two LCC remains secure.

Wizz Air is the only one among the four whose fleet expansion has continued through the crisis. It also has the clearest growth plan among the four independent LCC groups in 2021 and 2022.

However, regulatory approval for the Boeing 737 MAX to return to service should also allow Europe's number one LCC, Ryanair, to resume a growth path.

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