Norra – ATR 72-500
When speaking of Finnish airlines, many people think of Finnair. The history of Finnish aviation, however, includes several other airlines as well. In addition to Finnair, the regional airline Norra represents the Finnish airline companies, flying with the ATR 72-500 turboprop airliner.
Norra – The biggest operator on domestic routes
Norra or the Nordic Regional Airlines Ltd is a Finnish airline, providing regional airline services for other airlines – Norra does not currently operate its own routes. Finnair is Norra’s main partner, operating a significant part of its domestic and European routes via Norra. Finnair also owns 40 % of Norra’s stock.
Norra’s history goes back to the early 1990’s. In 1993, owners from Southern Ostrobothnia founded a charter airline Etelä-Pohjanmaan Lentokeskus Oy (The Flight Center of Southern Ostrobothnia), which later became the Finnish Commuter Airline or Finncomm. The company expanded its operations into regional traffic in the late 1990’s, making a contract with Finnair to operate commuter traffic, especially domestic routes. In the 2000’s, Finncomm became Finland’s largest operator in domestic air traffic, operating almost half of the routes within the country. The airline operated with leased aircraft, until forming its own fleet of ATR turboprop airliners and Embraer jets in the 2000’s.
In 2011 Finnair and the British Flybe acquired Finncomm’s stock, and the company changed its name into Flybe Finland Ltd. Flybe owned 60 % of the stock, and Finnair 40 %. In 2015, the company moved again into Finnish ownership, changing its name into Norra. At the same time, the airline gave up its own routes, focusing in providing services for other airlines. Currently, Norra employs over 600 persons in Finland. Its owners include Finnair, Staffpoint Holding Oy and Kilco Oy.
ATR 72-500 – A turboprop airliner for feeder routes
Norra participates in the Kaivopuisto Air Show with the ATR 72-500 turboprop airliner. The short-haul ATRs form the airline’s fleet, along with the Embraer 190 jets. The fleet includes 12 ATRs, flying under Norra’s own colors.
ATR (Aerei da Trasporto Regionale or Avions de transport régional) is an Italo-French aircraft manufacturer, founded in 1981 as a consortium by the French Aérospatiale and Italian Aeritalia. ATR has developed two high-wing turboprop airliners for regional air traffic – the ATR 42, which flew its maiden flight in 1981, and its prolonged version, the ATR 72. In 1989, Finnair became the first airline to introduce the ATR 72 airliner. Currently Norra is the only Finnish airline operating the ATR airliners.
Norra’s ATR 72-500 is a familiar plane to Riika Kaipainen, the commentator of the Kaivopuisto Air Show – Riika is currently working as an ATR pilot for Norra.