Norwegian ships in new chief financial officer as part of management shake-up

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Geir Karlsen is joining Norwegian as chief financial officer (Source: Norwegian)

Low-cost airline Norwegian has announced a management shake-up, including the appointment of a new chief financial officer, as it looks to keep the pressure up on rising competition.

Geir Karlsen joins the carrier from London-based shipping firm Navig8 Group, with Norwegian's acting chief financial officer Tore Ostby shifting into a new position as executive vice president strategic development. He remains part of group management.

Karlsen said he looked forward to taking part in Norwegian's "ambitious growth plans", which were marked last year by a raft of new routes and the collection of new slots, notably at London Gatwick.

He has previously worked at Golden Ocean Group and Songa Offshore.

Read more: Norwegian UK passenger numbers flew last year as rapid growth continues

Norwegian chief executive Bjorn  Kjos said of Karlsen's appointment: "A major part of his professional experience clearly resembles the airline industry, where lease agreements and financing of major transactions are key to succeed. At the same time, he has extensive management experience from major international companies that is very important to enable Norwegian’s global growth.”

Kurt Simonsen also joins Norwegian as chief information officer. He has spent the past 17 years as a partner and co-owner of the consulting firm Infocom Group.

Yesterday, the Scandinavian airline said it flew 5.8m passengers from the UK and Ireland over last year, a rise of more than a quarter on 2016's total. It launched 15 new routes, and has more long-haul picks on the horizon this year, including its first to South America. 

Last month, Norwegian announced it had acquired 28 extra weekly slots at Gatwick, and will use them from this summer.

The airline industry is battling bumper competition, with last year's casualties including Monarch and Air Berlin, and Norwegian is eyeing speedy growth.

Read more: Norwegian boss Bjorn Kjos shrugs off IAG’s low-cost, long-haul push