Norse Atlantic Airways has confirmed that it has been awarded slots at Gatwick airport “at no cost”.

The start-up transatlantic carrier said that “securing important slots at London Gatwick Airport gives the airline access to one of the most attractive markets in Europe”.

Norse Atlantic had planned to launch services this spring, with the first flights operating between Oslo and “selected cities in the US”.

But the airline has pushed this date back to June, citing events in Ukraine which “have resulted in increased fuel prices and uncertainties relating to travel demand”.

The carrier’s initial route network is now expected to be announced in April when ticket sales commence. Launch routes are still expected to be between Norway and US, with flights to and from Paris and London planned “as soon as the market situation allows”.

Norse Atlantic unveiled its livery in August 2021, alongside plans to operate a fleet of 15 B787 aircraft previously flown by Norwegian, and was granted its air operator’s certificate by the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority at the end of last year.

Norse Atlantic Airways granted air operator’s certificate

The carrier has so far taken delivery of nine B787s, with the remaining six set to arrive in the coming months. A pilot base has been established in Oslo, along with a cabin crew base in Fort Lauderdale.

Commenting on the news CEO and Founder Bjorn Tore Larsen said:

“The tragedy unfolding in Ukraine creates uncertainties within international air transport that we take seriously. Norse’s flexible fleet arrangements, low cost base and strong financial foundation allow us to take a careful approach to launch.

“We are in a unique position as we have not yet started flying, which gives us the advantage to enter the market cautiously in line with demand and quickly adapt to unforeseen events. A gradual approach where ramp-up is exclusively driven by demand, will enable us to preserve our strong, debt-free balance sheet and cost base.

“We’re thrilled to have been awarded slots to operate flights to and from London Gatwick Airport as it gives us access to a very attractive market. We look forward to working closely with the great team at Gatwick Airport.

“We have the necessary flexibility to quickly adapt to unforeseen events and ramp up with more aircraft and affordable flights to exciting destinations as soon as the market situation allows. A highly motivated Team Norse and the fact that we currently only pay for our aircraft when they are in operation also gives us a competitive advantage.

“The current global situation makes it challenging to predict the demand for transatlantic travel. However, we strongly believe that the demand will bounce-back with full force because people will want to explore new destinations, visit friends and family and travel for business.

“Norse will be there to offer attractive and affordable flights on our more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliners to both leisure and cost-conscious business travellers.”