Norwegian Air, a popular Norway low-cost airline founded by Bjørn Kjos in 1993, will start accepting Bitcoin payments, the company announced last month. It will also set up its own cryptocurrency exchange where the digital currency payments will be settled.
Interestingly, the son of the owner of the company, who has taken over from his father as CEO, is a crypto investor himself. He invested the equivalent of 400,000 US dollars in 2017. This should explain the company’s willingness to bring Bitcoin payments onboard.
However, Norwegian Air still has some technical tasks to complete. The airline wants to set up its own exchange, through which the payments will be settled. The new exchange is dubbed Norwegian Block Exchange or NBX.
According to local finance newspaper Dagens Næringsliv, the Kjos family intend to launch trading on their nascent NBX exchange in August this year. Once the exchange is up and running, the plan is to expand to neighboring countries and, in the fall, provide a payment solution enabling Norwegian Air Shuttle customers to pay for tickets with cryptocurrency, DN says.
Stig A. Kjos-Mathisen, who will lead NBX and who sits on the board of NBK Holdings, Norwegian’s biggest shareholder, confirmed this to DN:
“First, the marketplace will be launched. Then NBX will make a payment solution for the airline so that airline customers can pay with virtual currency.”
Norwegian Air’s business model allows it to offer cheap flights. Utilizing used Boeing jets and opening a branch in Bangkok to reportedly avoid personnel costs, they took over the Norwegian market and pushed out existing companies. So far, however, they are experiencing problems. Norwegian Air had to close some international bases in January this year.
The acceptance of bitcoin and the launch of the exchange is apparently a move to prevent further financial crashes.
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