This winter will see Norwegian drop some underperforming short-haul routes from London Gatwick.
The news may come as a surprise seeing as Business Traveller recently reported on Norwegian’s European expansion at Gatwick.
Why the change? Bloomberg reports that Norwegian will slim down its Gatwick short-haul operations in favour of long-haul expansion using B787 Dreamliners.
Quoted by Bloomberg, Norwegian’s spokesperson Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen said, “We’re always looking at profitability and it’s no secret that competition at Gatwick is pretty fierce.”
“If you have routes that are performing poorly it’s much better business to discontinue them and use the slots for a bigger operation where the competition is not so great.”
What Norwegian will be doing at Gatwick later this year (when the summer season ends) is to drop underperforming European routes in favour of more lucrative transatlantic services.
Why the change? There are a combination of reasons: intense competition from other low-cost carriers (LCCs), overcapacity and a predicted downturn in European flying.
In other news Norwegian’s B737 MAX transatlantic launch could be marred somewhat by the news that its B737s have not yet obtained 180 minute ETOPS * certification (note: Norwegian awaits delivery of its long-range B737 MAX aircraft).
Unless it’s obtained in time, flights must take a more northerly and longer routing adding to journey time. An executive at Norwegian UK told me, “Currently [the answer re ETOPS is] ‘no’ but it is being worked on so maybe in time for our [B737 MAX] launch.”
Let us hope for some good news in the months ahead.
Note: * ETOPS stands for Extended Range Operations for Two- Engined Aeroplanes.