THE HISTORY OF NORWEGIAN CIVIL AVIATION 1918 -
1920: Experimental passenger service Bergen - Haugesund - Stavanger. Not too successful. A variety of more or less unsuccessful attempts are made. Few are convinced that aircraft will become a future means of transport.
1926: Roald Amundsen flies over the North Pole in the airship "Norge".
Until 1927, Norway is apparently the only country in Europe without air services.
In 1927: Dagny Berger becomes the first Norwegian woman to get a pilot's licence. Another Norwegian woman, Gidsken Jakobsen, took her pilot's licence in 1929. She started her own airline and owned and flew her own aircraft. (A dominant personality from Narvik!)
1934: The Widerøe's Flyveselskap airline is founded and runs the first sea plane service between Oslo and Haugesund.
It was not until 1935 that permission was given to develop a network of national air services. Det Norske Luftfartsselskap AS (DNL), a Norwegian airline, was given the go-ahead to develop the service. This meant that the government had entrusted them with the sole right to these routes. Other companies, including Widerøe's, worked together with DNL. DNL began their regular services with the help of two Junkers Ju523M (that can be seen at the museum) and a Junkers W34.
Up until the end of World War II sea planes were the most common aircraft in use in Norway.
During World War II, the Germans had aerodromes built to accommodate their military aircraft. Norwegian aircraft were confiscated and used by the Germans.
After the War, in 1946, ordinary flights were resumed, and the airports built during the occupation were now put to use in civil aviation.
Norwegian aircraft - the Hønningstad C-5 Polar. During the period from shortly before the war until shortly after, some aircraft were actually built in Norway. The C-5 Polar is one example. It was designed by Birger Hønningstad and completed at the Widerøe's engineering workshop in 1948. After the war, many military aircraft were sold cheaply from the surplus stores, and because of this, plans for the mass production of Norwegian aircraft failed.
Hønningstad C-5 Polar
|In the 1950's the network of air services is developed in earnest and aviation begins to take effect as a viable means of communication and transport. SAS is founded and meets competition in Norway from Braathens SAFE. Widerøe's Flyveselskap establishes regular sea plane services in North Norway, largely with the help of Norseman and DHC-3-Otter machines.
SAS tries out regular Arctic flights and gains international recognition. They open the world's first air service over the geographical North Pole in 1957.
In the 1950's and 60's, Braathens SAFE carry out landings on wheels on a snow covered runway in Spitzbergen.
The 1960's: The beginning of charter flights in Norway.
In 1968 the development of a network of services to minor airfields is begun, starting with the "Helgelandsuta" service. Widerøe's are awarded the licence for this service and purchase their first Twin Otters. Later, the company expands its operations in the West Country and in North Norway. This proves to be of major significance for the outlying districts.
Widerøes first Twin Otter, LN-LMN
|In 1971 Widerøe's put a stop to their sea plane services, replacing them with a network of services to the smaller airports.
The end of the 1980's and into the 90's: Deregulation of Norwegian air traffic. Free competition between Norwegian airlines on domestic flights, led to an increased number of departures on certain services (e.g. Oslo - Bergen), but prices remained basically the same.
1995: The Norwegian people have become an "airborne" race: About 16 million passengers make use of domestic flights, and about a million of them are passengers on flights to the minor airports. (These figures do not include international flights)