Budget carrier Norwegian appears to have put at CEO succession plan in place as it looks to trim expansion and focus on profit.

Chief financial officer Geir Karlsen was yesterday appointed deputy CEO of Norwegian.

He becomes number two at the carrier to CEO Bjorn Kjos who helped co-found the airline in 1993.

Kjos hinted last month that he was open to retirement a week after chairman Bjorn Kise announced he was stepping down in May.

Karlsen joined Norwegian as CFO in a year ago with experience from listed companies within shipping and offshore.

Before joining Norwegian, he held the position of group CFO at London-based shipping management group Navig8 Group.

Kjos said: “Geir has during his one-year tenure at Norwegian proven solid leadership skills and boasts trust from colleagues on all levels of the Norwegian Group.

“I look forward to a continued close, constructive and strategically important co-operation.”

Norwegian last week said it had held “productive meetings” with Boeing following the grounding of 737 Max aircraft.

The third largest carrier at Gatwick saw passenger carryings rise by 5% in March to 2.9 million despite the withdrawal of its Max 8 aircraft used on some transatlantic routes.

The Max 8s were grounded worldwide following two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia in less than six months with Boeing working on a software fix for the aircraft.