A Look At The History Of Widerøe: Norway’s Storied Airline

Norway's Widerøe Embraer E190-E2.
Photo Credit: Karam Sodhi/AviationSource

LONDON – As one of Norway’s oldest and most beloved airlines, Widerøe has a rich history that is filled with stories of innovation, ambition, and success.

From its humble beginnings in 1934 to becoming the largest regional airline in Scandinavia today, this piece takes a look at the fascinating journey of Widerøe.

An Overview of Widerøe

Widerøe Embraer E190-E2.
Photo Credit: Karam Sodhi/AviationSource

Norway’s Widerøe is one of the oldest airlines in the world, with a history that dates back to 1934. The airline was founded by two Scandinavian aviation pioneers, Erik Gulliksen, and Oscar Widerøe.

Widerøe has always been an innovative airline, being the first to introduce jet services in Norway in 1960 and the first to operate domestic routes with turboprop aircraft in 1970.

The airline has also been a leader in environmental sustainability, becoming the world’s first airline to operate an all-electric flight in 2015.

Today, the airline is Norway’s largest regional airline, operating a fleet of over 40 aircraft on over 300 weekly flights to 45 destinations across Norway.

Early History of Widerøe

Widerøe was founded in 1934 by Bernhard Widerøe, who had previously worked as a pilot for Widerøe & Bjørneby.

The company initially operated seaplanes but began transitioning to land-based aircraft in the late 1930s.

During World War II, the carrier’s fleet was requisitioned by the Norwegian government and used to transport troops and supplies.

The airline also played a role in the evacuation of Allied forces from Norway after the German invasion.

After the war, Widerøe resumed civilian operations and rapidly expanded its network across Norway.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the airline introduced several new technologies, including turbojet engines and helicopters.

  • Norway's Widerøe in the 1930s.
  • Norway's Widerøe in the 1930s.
  • Norway's Widerøe Twin Otter.
  • Norway's Widerøe
  • Norway's Widerøe
  • Norway's Widerøe
  • Norway's Widerøe

It also became one of the first airlines in Europe to operate jets on domestic routes.

Today, Widerøe is Norway’s largest regional airline, serving over 40 destinations across the country.

The company has a strong focus on safety and reliability and has been repeatedly recognized as one of the world’s safest airlines.

Here are some key milestones over the course of the airline’s history:

  • 1934: Widerøe is founded by Oddvard Widerøe and his brother Dag.
  • 1940: Widerøe begins operating seaplane services between Norway and the Shetland Islands.
  • 1945: Widerøe becomes the first airline in Norway to operate scheduled landplane services.
  • 1960: Widerøe expands its operations to include international routes, becoming the first Norwegian airline to do so.
  • The 1980s: The airline acquires contracts from SAS Group, one of the largest airline groups in Europe.
  • 2001: Widerøe expands its operations once again, this time to include domestic flights within Norway.
  • 2008: Widerøe celebrates its 75th anniversary.
  • 2017: Signs deal for 15 Embraer E190-E2s.
  • 2018: Widerøe receives the first Embraer E190-E2 as the launch customer.


Widerøe Embraer E190-E2.
Photo Credit: Karam Sodhi/AviationSource

The airline has been an integral part of the history of Norway, having grown from a small regional airline in the 1930s into one of Europe’s largest.

Its success is due to its dedication to providing safe and reliable air travel while being at the forefront of technological advancement.

Although the airline faces some challenges today, such as increased competition, it remains a respected leader in Norwegian aviation and will no doubt continue to be an important force for many years to come.

By AviationSource News 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
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