Norwegian is putting the UK at the heart of its expansion plans, with South America and Asia the key regions for new routes.
Gatwick is to gain Norwegian’s newest long-haul routes first, chief executive Bjorn Kjos pledged at a briefing in London today. “The UK will be at the heart of our continued global expansion and we remain fully committed to the market,” he said.
The airline is exploring new routes to South America on the back of strong sales for Buenos Aires, and in Asia, it has its sights on Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing if it is granted access to the Siberian corridor, Kjos revealed.
Buenos Aires flights will increase to daily this winter, while the LA service will grow from nine to 11 flights a week and Fort Lauderdale (Miami) from two to four. There are longer-term plans for a triple daily Gatwick-New York service when slots become available.
In the States, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis are among East Coast and Midwest destinations under consideration for the eight new A321neo LR aircraft, due for delivery in 2019 for service from 2020. The aircraft may also be used on Middle East routes.
Ten new Dreamliners will replace the current Gatwick fleet this year and, as part of a focus on business travellers, will feature an expanded 56-seat premium cabin – an increase of 21 seats.
Wi-Fi will also be rolled out on Norwegian’s Dreamliners and Boeing 737 MAX – with passengers able to opt for a free or paid service – the latter high-speed enough for streaming films.
“We are launching long-haul routes exclusively from Gatwick, introducing our newest Dreamliners to Gatwick and increasing frequency on popular routes, which reflects the growing importance of the UK to the future of our business,” said Kjos.
“With huge global ambitions, we’re confident that the UK can offer Norwegian a springboard to further expansion as we aim to become the long-haul airline of choice for passengers seeking a high-quality service at great value.”
Its flights to South America launch today and new direct services to Chicago and Austin in March.
Now Europe’s third largest UK airline, Norwegian launched with transatlantic services from Gatwick in 2014.