Norwegian’s chief executive Bjørn Kjos has stepped down after 17 years at the airline.

He will continue in a new role as an advisor to the chairman, with effect from today.

Chief financial officer Geir Karlsen will act as interim chief executive and chairman Niels Smedegaard will take on a more active role in the management, the airline said.

Smedegaard said the business had begun the process to recruit a permanent chief executive.

“I am very pleased Bjørn will remain at the company as an advisor to the board and the chair. As Norwegian moves from growth to profitability, it will be an advantage for the company to benefit from Bjørn’s extensive network, in-depth knowledge of and experience with global aviation,” Smedegaard said.

“Bjørn has played an unprecedented role in Norwegian’s success. His vision of offering affordable fares for all, combined with his enthusiasm and innovating spirit, has revolutionized the way people travel for pleasure and for business, not least between the continents. Bjørn is definitely one of the most influential European entrepreneurs of our time.”


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The low-cost airline employs more than 11,000 staff and operates 162 aircraft.

The airline’s previous chairman, Bjorn Kise, stepped down in May.

The airline also said it expects the grounding of the 737 Max 8 jets will negatively affect 2019 full-year results by £65m.

Norwegian operated 18 Max 8 aircraft. The airline reported net profit of NKr82.8m in the second quarter, down from NKr300m the previous year.