Norwegian plans major expansion of its long-haul routes out of the UK but has indicated its European flight programme could be scaled down.
New routes, increased frequencies and onboard improvements, with the airline’s latest Dreamliners to be based at Gatwick, will put the UK “at the heart” of growth, according to chief executive Bjorn Kjos.
Long-haul routes will launch from Gatwick before anywhere else on Norwegian’s network, with new services to South America and Asia in the pipeline.
Services to more South American countries are under consideration following strong ticket sales on its Gatwick to Buenos Aires route which launched this week.
The airline also hopes to expand further into Asia after launching its Gatwick to Singapore service.
Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing are destinations earmarked, provided the airline gets access to Russia’s Siberian corridor, the most direct route to the Far East.
From 2020, new routes are planned out of London to the US East Coast and Midwest on Norwegian’s first eight Airbus aircraft, which arrive next year.
Detroit, Philadelphia and Minneapolis are cited as potential new routes, as is the Middle East.
But the airline said it was still finalising its short-haul programme, which could result in some services to European airports being reduced, while frequencies on key Gatwick routes to Buenos Aires, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale are likely to be increased.
It also has a long-term ambition to secure slots for a triple-daily Gatwick‑New York service.
UK passengers will be the first to experience Norwegian’s upgraded 56-seat Premium cabins, with 10 Dreamliners entering the fleet this year. These replace the current Dreamliner fleet at Gatwick.
The new cabin adds 21 Premium seats, which the airline hopes will attract more business travellers. Long-haul Wi-Fi will be rolled out from the end of the year.
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