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Wider?e wins STOL contract

21st January 2009 - 11:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Widerøe has again won the tenders for regional air services in Norway. The airline was awarded PSO contracts for the majority of the regions tendered for.

This means that Widerøe will continue to fly the same routes as it does at present, with the exception of Røros. This was established after the Norwegian Ministry of Transport today published the outcome of the tender for the period 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2012.

Of the total of 18 regions open to tender, Widerøe won 15. Widerøe put in a bid for all the routes it currently flies, together with the routes to Fagernes and Florø. Five other international operators also tendered for the Norwegian domestic services. Widerøe was the only Norwegian airline to submit a tender.

"We have won the majority of the routes on the STOL network in Norway. We are pleased that Widerøe has managed to retain its position as a leading operator on the STOL network," says CEO of Widerøe, Lars Kobberstad.

"This was a key deciding factor for our operations over the next three years, and we now need to show that we merit the confidence placed in us. We will be continuing to build the quality of the airline to ensure sustained ability to supply improved travel options for people in Norway," says Kobberstad.

Stability and confidence

Operating STOL services in Norway is a relatively tough proposition. Weather, distance and landing conditions are demanding factors for the airline that serves the outlying regions. The Dash 8 aircraft type is ideal for the Norwegian STOL network, and the good news is that passengers will now be enjoying flights in larger aircraft with pressurized cabins.

"Widerøe is proud to be able to continue its role as an important part of the infrastructure serving Helgeland, Loftoten/Vesterålen and Western Norway with the reaffirmed confidence of the Ministry of Transport and travellers in Norway," says Kobberstad.

Important safety measures

For the first time ever in a PSO tender, the Ministry made the satellite-based precision landing system, SCAT 1, a mandatory requirement for prospective operators on the STOL network. SCAT 1 is a quantum leap in aviation safety and is without doubt the one, single measure that will be most instrumental in enhancing safety at Norway's smaller regional airports. Widerøe is currently installing the onboard equipment on the airline's 18 Dash 8 - 100 aircraft. Avinor, meanwhile, is in the process of operationalising the guidance system at all STOL airports in Norway.

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