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Former fighter pilot quits as Norwegian’s chief executive but will stay with airline in advisory role

Resigned: Bjorn Kjos
Resigned: Bjorn Kjos

By Neil Lancefield

The boss of low-cost airline Norwegian Air Shuttle has stepped down from his role, the company has announced.

Former fighter pilot Bjorn Kjos (72) was one of the founders of the carrier and held the position of chief executive for 17 years.

He will continue to work for the airline in a new position advising the chairman.

Mr Kjos said: "I am confident that the board of directors will find the best qualified successor to lead the next chapters of the Norwegian story together with the top management team.

"Leaving the exciting future tasks to a new CEO and taking on a new challenge as an adviser is a set-up I am very happy with."

Chief financial officer Geir Karlsen will act as interim chief executive until a replacement is appointed.

During Mr Kjos's tenure, Norwegian developed from a small domestic operation with four planes to a global business flying 162 aircraft.

It ran a short-lived service from Belfast International to airports in the New York and Boston regions between July 2017 and October 2018.

The airline has shaken up the long-haul aviation market in recent years by offering flights at low prices.

Among its more popular deals was a £99 transatlantic flight to New York.

The airline has struggled to contain costs during its growth and had to raise three billion Norwegian crowns (£280m) earlier this year.

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