>Upstart low-fare carrier Norwegian Air poised to put even more pressure fares to Europe next summer with more flights
Last week, we reported that low-cost European carrier Norwegian plans to add a new route from Orlando to Paris next year, and to expand Paris frequencies from Los Angeles, New York and Ft. Lauderdale in July. From the Bay Area, it recently added London and Barcelona. But now Norwegian has even more plans to add cheap flights in 2017, especially to London and Ireland.
For one thing, Norwegian just announced plans to increase capacity between the U.S. and London Gatwick starting in mid-April. The airline said Oakland-Gatwick frequencies will increase from three flights a week to five; its Los Angeles-Gatwick schedule will grow from five flights a week to daily service; Ft. Lauderdale-Gatwick increases from one weekly flight to two; and Orlando-Gatwick will grow from two weekly flights to three. In August, Norwegian will boost its New York JFK-Gatwick from seven flights a week to 13.
And that’s not all. Last week, the U.S. Transportation Department finally awarded a foreign air carrier permit to Norwegian’s Irish subsidiary, Norwegian Air International – despite rabid opposition from U.S. airlines. The U.S. said it had no choice but to issue the permit under terms of the U.S.-Europe Open Skies agreement.
And Norwegian said as soon as that decision came down, it immediately started planning new services from the U.S. to Ireland; it expects to announce details early next year and to start flying next summer.
Norwegian said it is currently planning to launch new flights from “the Greater Boston and Greater New York areas” to Ireland’s Cork and Shannon airports. It hasn’t figured out pricing yet, but it noted that other U.S. route introductions typically featured starting fares as low as $69 one way, and average roundtrip prices of $300 to $350 including taxes. However, the airline’s many add-on fees typically boost the total travel cost.
USA Today reports that Norwegian will fly from New York’s suburban Newburgh Airport and perhaps Portsmouth NH using new smaller 737 MAX jets instead of its stable of larger Dreamliners.
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