Norwegian Plans More Flights from London to Latin America and Asia

A new breed of low-cost carriers such as Norwegian Wow are taking on the old guard such as British Airways and Air France-KLM in the skies above the Atlantic

Norwegian Air (NWC.OL) plans to serve new destinations in South America from London, prompted by strong demand for flights to Buenos Aires which begin this week as it ramps up its budget operation on long-haul routes.

Traditional players could also face competition from Norwegian on routes from London to Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing, if the carrier is given rights to fly across the Siberian corridor in Russian Federation, the shortest route to Asia, Kjos said.

Buenos Aires will be Norwegian's 11th route launched from London Gatwick in the past four years and by the end of March, Norwegian will become the second largest long-haul airline at Gatwick with 13 direct long-haul routes following the launch of Singapore in September, Buenos Aires in February and Chicago and Austin in March 2018.

Norwegian has announced its plans to further expand from the United Kingdom to long-haul destinations, and is focussing on targeting business travellers.

The carrier's first direct flight from the United Kingdom to South America departs on Wednesday, with a 787 Dreamliner taking its maiden flight from Gatwick to Buenos Aires. It has ambitions for a thrice daily service to NY.

Kjos says the United Kingdom will be at the heart of the airline's continued global expansion and it remains fully committed to the market.

Bjorn Kjos a former paratrooper and pilot has turned Norwegian into Scandinavia's largest airline and the third-biggest budget carrier in Europe
Bjorn Kjos a former paratrooper and pilot has turned Norwegian into Scandinavia's largest airline and the third-biggest budget carrier in Europe

Kjos said that Norwegian is planning cabin upgrades to the 10 new Dreamliners expected this year, including a new 56-seat premium cabin, up from 35.

"As our first South American route takes off, it is also a first step towards ambitious plans for global and domestic growth in Argentina, ahead of flights to Chicago and Austin from London Gatwick next month".

Kos believes that the United Kingdom offers "Norwegian a springboard to further expansion as we aim to become the long-haul airline of choice for passengers seeking a high-quality service at great value".

The UK market will also be the first to see Norwegian's incoming A321neo LR aircraft, which will enter service from 2020.

Norwegian remains Europe's third largest low-priced airline, behind Ryanair and EasyJet, but has global designs that will see it competing not with its budget superiors but instead with more traditional carriers such as British Airways. It then occupied seventh place in the rankings of most transatlantic seats flown but that position is likely to improve.

Norwegian, Europe's third-largest budget airline after Ryanair (RYA.I) and easyJet (EZJ.L), needs permission under a deal with Russian Federation before it can access this route.

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