Norwegian to launch long haul services from London Gatwick to North America

European low cost carrier, Norwegian, has said that it will launch three new non-stop long haul services from London Gatwick to North America next summer, according to news a release by Gatwick authorities.

The routes include direct flights to New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL).

With the introductions, passengers using Gatwick will have a choice of a range of flights to US airports and, more importantly, competitively priced fares starting from GBP149 one way to New York, GBP179 to Fort Lauderdale and £199 to Los Angeles. On average, these fares will be up to 50 percent cheaper than fares from Heathrow.

Stewart Wingate, CEO of London Gatwick, said: ‘This is one of the most exciting route developments since Gatwick’s change of ownership four years ago and shows the benefits to passengers of Gatwick competing with Heathrow on routes, price and service. Norwegian’s decision to re-establish London Gatwick’s links to strategic destinations in North America gives passengers, once again, real choice about how to get there and, importantly, provide options for affordable travel to popular business and leisure destinations.

‘Norwegian’s decision to operate high quality services on new long range aircraft offering good-value fares to the US from London Gatwick is a significant industry game-changer. It points to a future in which more and more long haul routes will be served by Gatwick. This is an important industry development that I am sure the Airports Commission will want to look at closely when considering the future shape of aviation.’

Norwegian’s CEO, Bjorn Kjos, said: ‘There’s great demand for high quality flights at a low fare between the UK and the U.S., particularly to and from London Gatwick, where no other airline currently offers these routes. We are looking forward to welcoming many new customers on board our brand new aircraft. Launching intercontinental routes between London Gatwick and the United States is also an important part of our strategy to expand internationally and get a stronger foothold in markets outside Scandinavia.’

Norwegian moved from Stansted to Gatwick in 2009, and since then has increased its flights from the airport by more than a third. In spring 2013, it introduced a UK base at Gatwick and started 12 new direct European routes.

In addition to its new long haul routes, Norwegian will also be launching a number of new short haul routes from Gatwick in 2014, adding to its 25 destinations. New services will include Budapest, Santorini, Sicily, Cyprus and Corfu. From summer 2014, Norwegian will also increase the frequencies on nine of its current routes.

Norwegian and Virgin in Dreamliner cooperation

Norwegian Air, a Norway-based low-cost airline, has signed a memorandum of understanding with UK-based airline and transatlantic specialist, Virgin Atlantic.

The agreement between the two airlines is intended to be of mutual benefit, with Norwegian’s long-haul pilots being granted access to Virgin Atlantic’s extensive long-haul knowledge, and Virgin benefiting from the use of Norwegian’s brand new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner for its instructors to receive pilot training.

The agreement means that Virgin Atlantic’s pilots will be able to gain experience on the new aircraft prior to the delivery of its first Dreamliner in September 2014.

Torstein Hoas, Norwegian Long Haul director of flight operations, said, ‘Introducing a new aircraft type to an airline is an extensive affair. It is therefore important that we learn from each other. Virgin Atlantic is a successful long-haul airline with almost 30 years of Trans-Atlantic experience. It will be very beneficial for us to receive this support. At the same time, we are looking forward to helping Virgin Atlantic introduce the 787 Dreamliner to its fleet. The cooperation will be a great advantage to both parties.’

The general manager of flight operations at Virgin Atlantic, captain Dave Kistruck, commented, ‘Virgin Atlantic are delighted to announce our training partnership with Norwegian. Our combined experience is being effectively utilised to ensure the safe and efficient introduction of the Boeing 787 aircraft to our fleet. We have much in common with Norwegian, having similar high quality training requirements, which has allowed our partnership to take shape.’

Virgin Atlantic’s order is for the slightly larger 787-9 Dreamliner.