Norwegian has announced its plans to further expand from the UK to long-haul destinations, and is focussing on targeting business travellers. The airline said that investing in enhancements to its long-haul services “will provide a stronger proposition to business passengers.”
Norwegian is adding 21 more Premium seats to its B787 Dreamliners, with lounge access included with Premium tickets. It also intends to increase frequency on key routes from Gatwick to give business customers more flexibility. It currently has 13 routes from Gatwick. It also says that two-thirds of its expansion this year will be adding frequency to routes already launched.
CEO Bjorn Kjos announced that London-Buenos Aires will increase to a daily service this winter, while there will be further increases to Los Angeles from nine to 11 flights per week and an increase from two to four weekly flights to Fort Lauderdale (Miami). Norwegian also has long-term ambitions to secure slots for a triple-daily Gatwick-New York service.
Norwegian says that it has the world’s longest low-cost route from Gatwick to Singapore and is aiming to serve Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing if the airline receives access to the Siberian flight corridor which gives Norwegian the most efficient and direct routing across Russia to the Far East.
Mr Kjos said that he believed the routes to Asia could be a success despite Virgin Atlantic trying them and pulling off because of the efficiencies of the B787 compared with the B747.
The airline will introduce eight new Airbus A321neo LR, with the first joining in 2019 and serving the UK from 2020.
The airline plans to use these aircraft from Gatwick to the US East Coast and Midwest targetting cities such as Detroit, Philadelphia and Minneapolis. Norwegian says it is also considering routes to the Middle East using the Airbus A321neo LR. Mr Kjos said he hadn’t decided whether the aircraft would be configured in one class or two.
Norwegian has 10 new Dreamliners entering the fleet in 2018 featuring the new, expanded 56-seat Premium cabin, which will replace the current Gatwick-based Dreamliner fleet, giving UK passengers more premium seats and brand-new aircraft
Long-haul Wi-Fi will be rolled out from the end of this year on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with plans to offer a free Wi-Fi option and a paid high-speed option for those wanting to stream movies and TV shows.
Mr Kjos said: “The UK will be at the heart of our continued global expansion and we remain fully committed to the market. We are launching long-haul routes exclusively from London 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.
“UK passengers will be the first to benefit from our newest routes and upgraded long-haul passenger experience. With plans to rollout inflight Wi-Fi on our long-haul flights, Norwegian will be in a better position to increasingly target business passengers as we also have plans for more exciting routes and flights to the USA, South America and Asia.”