Flying for Norwegian as a Pilot

In our newest series of blogs, the theme is “what it’s like to fly for” a particular airline.
The AirlinePrep team have accumulated thousands of hours working for major UK and international airlines and we are well connected through our previous clients to other airlines.
In this blog, we talk about ‘what it’s like to fly for Norwegian’ and provide some basic recruitment info.

The Airline

Norwegian started flying in 2003, flying domestic routes in Norway but since Bjorn Kjos took the role of CEO the airline’s aim is to fly low cost long haul on the B787, 737 Max and A321LR.

The airline has 150 aircraft with bases throughout Europe. The main bases are London Gatwick, Barcelona, Rome and Paris. The main short haul bases are Oslo, Stockholm Arlanda, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Madrid and Gatwick. Those are all classed as main crew bases, with smaller crew bases in the Canaries, Alicante, Malaga, Palma, Edinburgh, Dublin and Bergen.

The Airline has UK, Irish, Norwegian, Scandinavian and Argentinian AOCs. Pilots are recruited onto one AOC only.

Aircraft, Routes and Flying 

The airline has a fleet mix of B787s, B737NGs and B737 Max’s. On order are A321 LRs and more 737 Max’s to replace NGs.Routes vary depending on where you are based and the type that you operate.

B737 routes are predominantly European short haul as well as mid haul including Dubai and the Canaries from Scandinavia. If you are B737 Max, ETOPS and US ops rated you will fly what is known as ‘long rthin routes’. These are long haul routes between city pairs such as Edinburgh, Dublin, Shannon and Cork to New York.

B787 routes are exclusively long haul and are only used on short haul for crew training. Gatwick has the most routes, including LA, Fort Lauderdale, New York, Austin, Chicago, Seattle, Buenos Aeres and Singapore.
Norwegian would like to open routes to Tokyo and the Far East. They also operate wet lease holiday charters for TUI.


Rostering is highly dependent on your crew base. For example, if you have a crew base flying short haul from Scandinavia you can expect a fixed 5 days on 4 days off roister.

If you are UK short haul based, there is no fixed pattern or bidding so you are allocated a roster and expected to fly it. Other bases such as in Spain also have no fixed roster patterns.

Short haul Pilots based in Gatwick generally work the hardest due to the variety  of routes and it is not unusual to fly 6 days on, 2 days off followed by 7 days on, 2 days off in the summer.

Long haul Pilots are contracted to have 10 days off per month. Pilots on the UK AOC will operate out of the UK and back into the UK. However Pilots on other AOCs may operate W pattern trips up to 21 days long, An example might be:

Rome to LA, minimum rest. Then LA to Oslo, minimum rest. Then Oslo to New York, with some blank days. Then New York to Rome. This is an example of say a 14 day trip.

Opportunities and Training

Time to Command varies depending on previous experience. For example a 737 FO arriving with 3000 hours experience, would be considered for Command within 2 years if criteria are met. An FO arriving with other jet experience over 21 tonnes for the example the Embraer could be classed within the same experience level as an FO arriving with 737 experience.

Direct Entry Captains for the 787 need 1000 hours wide body Command time.

There are not many opportunities for recruitment or training for FOs. The main opportunities are to become Max, ETOPS and US Ops rated and Northern Norway winter ops trained.

Terms of Employment

All UK and Spanish based Pilots are employed by OSM on a permanent contract.

UK FO basic approximately £62000
UK Captain basic approximately £105000

Flight pay per block hour for an FO is approximately £7 and for a Captain £14.
Pilots can sell back leave and days off to the company.
Pilots are allocated 30 days annual leave.

Pilots also receive a 5% pension from the company, private healthcare with BUPA as well as loss of license insurance.


Recruitment is ongoing and varies between requirements for experienced or non experienced Pilots. OSM handle the recruitment for short haul Pilots and Norwegian handle long haul recruitment.

Pilots offered the job are unlikely to receive notification of their base until after completion of type rating.
The recruitment process includes:
  • Aptitude testing (numerical, verbal and competencies assessments)
  • A video/Skype interview
  • An HR/competency interview
  • A technical interview
  • A simulator assessment

To prepare for the Norwegian recruitment process, try AirlinePrep The App which is available directly from our website. The App contains a dedicated Norwegianrecruitment brief with feedback ATPL and interview questions as well as a comprehensive information on the simulator check.

Our courses are perfect preparation for your forthcoming Airline Pilot interview and assessment. Courses include:

  • 1 to 1 competency based interview
  • Group exercises
  • Numerical reasoning
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Maths refresher training
  • Interview training
  • Group Exercise training
  • Career development and Pilot skills seminar
If you would like to know more about how we can support and help you with your Airline or Cadet Pilot interview, then please feel free to contact us.