Expansion in the US
After much anticipation the low-cost carrier has chosen the first two U.S. bases for the trans-Atlantic flights it plans to introduce later this year.
Norwegian already flies from numerous U.S. destinations however, the airline announced plans to start flying from two smaller Northeast airports and to introduce its new Boeing 737 MAX jets. Those jets are scheduled to begin arriving to the carrier by mid-2017. The airline will serve one airport 70 miles north of New York City and another south of Boston.
The new bases are expected to bring multiple European routes to each of those airports and whilst this may be good news for trans-Atlantic travelers, US pilots are not so keen. US pilots have demanded that Donald Trump grounds low-cost flights from Europe operated by Norwegian — including the airline’s routes from Gatwick to New York, Florida, California and Las Vegas.
Captain Todd Insler, who is chairman of the Master Executive Council representing 12,000 United Airlines pilots, described Norwegian as a “flag-of-convenience airline”. In a letter to President Trump, he said Barack Obama’s decision to allow budget transatlantic flights “will destroy our US airline industry and all of the jobs associated with it”.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer suggested that the Trump administration looks favorably on the foreign air carrier permit that the Obama administration granted to Norwegian Air's Ireland-based subsidiary in December.
"There is a huge economic benefit that lies in that deal right now," Spicer said, referring to Norwegian's plan to purchase more than 100 Boeing aircraft and noting that Norwegian has committed to hiring U.S. workers.
20 percent passenger growth in January*
Meanwhile the airline Norwegian has reported a sharp rise in passenger numbers for January. The airline saw traffic jump 20 per cent last month to 2.1 million passengers, compared to the same period in 2016. Norwegian credited the growth to expansion of its low-cost long-haul routes between the UK and US, as well as domestic routes in Spain.
A total of 2,110,576 passengers chose to fly with Norwegian in January, 353,920 more than the same period last year. The total traffic growth (RPK) increased by 30 percent, while the capacity growth (ASK) increased by 28 percent.
“We are very pleased to see that the traffic growth continues in January, a month traditionally characterised by less travel. The global expansion continues with strong growth on domestic routes Spain as well as flights between the US and the UK,” said CEO of Norwegian, Bjørn Kjos.
*Source: Norwegian / Norway Today