In early October, the CEO of the Scandinavian airline Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, Bjørn Kjos, announced in an interview that before 2020 he would offer flights to Europe from some US airports for as little as $ 69.
In order to offer these prices, the airline plans to travel from cheaper US airports that currently have hardly any international flightssuch as Westchester County, New York State, or Bradley International Airport, Connecticut.
Most round-trip fares to Norway exceed $ 500 due to the high rates charged by the busiest airports. By choosing cheaper airports, the company hopes to offer roundtrip flights to Norway for about $ 300.
These plans would be part of a broader price-cutting strategy to grab a piece of the pie in transatlantic flights currently dominated by traditional airlines.
These airlines, like Deutsche Lufthansa AG, offer travelers hundreds of destinations by transferring at airports with multiple connections. Norwegian, on the other hand, offer direct flights to smaller cities with a high number of travelers who cross the Atlantic quite frequently, thus being able to maintain more affordable prices.
The flights would travel, for example, to the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh; to Birmingham, in the United Kingdom; or to Bergen, in Norway.
In order to put your plans in motion, US authorities will have to agree to set up customs stations at regional airports in the US, in order to monitor international traffic, but Kjos is confident that there is no problem.
Norwegian isn't the only airline with the idea of offering cheap fares across the Atlantic. Others, likeIcelanders Wow Air andIcelandair or theLufthansa's low-cost subsidiary,EurowingsThey also compete for that market. For example, Wow Air recently offered one-way fares between Boston and Paris for just $ 99.
However, Kjos downplayed Eurowings' competition, based on the characteristics of its aircraft. According to him, the airline will not be able to compete in the market for low-cost flights with its Boeing 767s, basically because those wide-body aircraft consume much more fuel and have less range than the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in Norwegian's fleet.
In addition, Norwegian has ordered 100 737 MAX aircraft from Boeing and expects to receive five of them in 2020.
For the moment, Norwegian plans to launch flights from Boston to a whole series of smaller European cities next year, using its Boeing 737-800 aircraft; and expand its transatlantic services the following yearwhen you receive the new 737 MAX aircraft.
The only downside to their plans is that the airline wants to operate its long-haul flights with a subsidiary based in Ireland and for this he needs the approval of the US authorities, something that has not yet been achieved. Norwegian has been trying to get approval from the US Department of Transportation for nearly two years to establish its long-haul unit in Dublin, despite fierce opposition from other airlines and unions who argue that this would open doors. to lower standards of regulation, safety regulations and workspace.
However, The airline recently announced that it will accelerate its transatlantic expansion regardless of the decision made by the US authorities.
Norwegian is currently the second largest airline in Scandinavia and the third largest low-cost airline in Europe, employing around 4,500 employees and operating 424 routes to 130 destinations in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Thailand and the United States.
Alone In 2014, 24 million passengers flew with this airline and the company expects double-digit growth in the coming years. If the estimates are met, the airline might even have to rent some planes to other companies.
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