Coast Air Struggled to Succeed in Norwegian Skies

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Photo credit: Guillaume Flambeau Von
Photo credit: Guillaume Flambeau Von

At one time, Norway’s Coast Air was the fourth largest airline in the country. However, the regional airline, which once traveled throughout Norway and to destinations in Poland, Denmark, and the United Kingdom, wasn’t able to keep its early momentum rolling. 

History of the Airline

Coast Air, formerly Coast Aero Center, first took to the skies in 1975, flying from Karmøy, Norway’s Haugesund Airport. During the company’s first nine years in the sky, it served as a small plane operator. In 1984, the company applied for the opportunity to provide regional flight services throughout Norway.

Coast Aero Center began flight services from Haugesund Airport to Aberdeen on an Embraer Bandeirante, featuring just 15 passenger seats, in August of 1986. Unfortunately, the plan was deemed unprofitable and flights were halted in 1987. However, the airline’s flights from Bergen to Stavanger and from Sorstokken to Oslo did take off.

Despite route and destination expansions, Coast Aero Center fell into financial distress in 1988 and all flights were suspended. The bankruptcy resulted in the company being purchased by Coast Air, an airline that quickly received the concession for servicing flights to the new Fagernes Airport, Leirin. In 1991, Coast Air transported roughly 5,000 passengers to and from that airport alone.

Photo credit: Andrew Thomas
Photo credit: Andrew Thomas

The deregulation of the Norwegian airline industry in 1994 meant that Coast Air could fly any route the company pleased. Routes to Kristiansand Airport and new Jetstream 31 aircraft orders followed. In 1995, the new aircraft were delivered and an additional Jetstream 31 was ordered.

The Norwegian airline Braathens ASA announced that it would terminate its flight operations from Olso to Roros. Coast Air therefore announced it would increase the number of departures between Haugesund and Bergen, and at the same time was willing to fly to Røros if a state subsidy was granted. The subsidiary was granted to Danish Air Transport instead, and the future of Coast Air began to look difficult.

Similar to most other countries at the time, the demand for air travel in Norway dropped in 2001. Coast Air continued to struggle. However, the airline pressed on with new ATR 42 aircraft orders despite trip cancellations and less than impressive passenger numbers.

On January 23, 2008, Coast Air was forced to file for bankruptcy due to a loss of more than 1 million Norwegian Krone (NOK) or $120,423 since 2001. The airline was Norway’s fourth largest carrier before its demise.

Former Flight Destinations

Photo credit: Peter Van den Bossche
Photo credit: Peter Van den Bossche

At the time of Coast Air’s 2008 bankruptcy, the airline operated flights to the United Kingdom’s Aberdeen Airport, Denmark’s Copenhagen Airport, Poland’s Gdansk Lech Wałęsa Airport, and nine airports across Norway, including Fagernes Airport, Bergen Airport, Oslo Airport, and several others.

Although Coast Air has officially ceased flight operations, travelers can still find discount flights throughout Norway with Wideroe, Scandinavian Airlines, and other cost-effective European carriers.

About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a travel writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, experiencing new cultures and surfing new waves.

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