UPDATE 1-Budget airline Norse Atlantic up 5% in Oslo stock market debut

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OSLO, April 12 (Reuters) - Norway's Norse Atlantic NORSE-ME.OL, a recently formed long-haul budget airline that plans to launch operations this year, made its Oslo stock market debut on Monday, trading up 5% in early trade.

Norse traded at 21 Norwegian crowns ($2.46) per share at 0731 GMT, up from a price of 20 crowns in a private placement late last month.

“The global economy has been hit hard by the pandemic but a new era is coming. People will once again travel for business and pleasure,” Norse founder and Chief Executive Bjoern Tore Larsen said in a statement.

The airline aims to fill a gap left by Norwegian Air , which offered low-cost transatlantic flights until mounting debt and the collapse of travel due to the COVID-19 outbreak forced it to exit its long-haul business.

Seeking to benefit from a glut of cheap aircraft as established carriers scaled back amid the pandemic, Norse signed contracts for nine Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets from Irish lessor AerCap Holdings.

Planning to launch its first flights in December, Norse has met with resistance in the United States, however, where a prominent member of Congress called on the government to deny the carrier a permit to fly.

$1 = 8.5258 Norwegian crowns Reporting by Terje Solsvik; editing by Jason Neely, Kirsten Donovan