Norwegian launches London - Buenos Aires flights for Valentine's Day as part of expansion plans
Brexit will not dent the long-haul expansion plans from Britain of the fast-growing low-cost airline, Norwegian.
The Oslo-based airline plans new routes and higher frequency services from Gatwick, its UK hub for transatlantic and Asian services. It will also base its newest Boeing 787 "Dreamliners" at the Sussex airport.
The chief executive, Bjorn Kjos, said Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing could be in his airline’s sights if the airline receives permission from Moscow to fly along the “Siberian corridor” — the most efficient and direct routing across Russia to the Far East.
Norwegian launched US services from Gatwick in 2014, and has since flown more than 2 million passengers on its transatlantic routes. On Valentine’s Day it begins a new route to Buenos Aires, and services to Chicago and Austin in March.
Next year it will acquire Airbus A321neo LR aircraft, with the intention of flying from Gatwick to the US East Coast and Midwest — including “secondary” cities such as Detroit, Philadelphia and Minneapolis. It may also deploy the aircraft to the Middle East.
Norwegian has long-term ambitions to make its Gatwick-New York JFK thrice daily.
Mr Kjos said: “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 US, South America and Asia.
“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.”
But concerns have been expressed about whether the airline is expanding too quickly, at the expense of operational robustness.
A number of disappointed travellers have contacted The Independent to say that their transatlantic flights booked on a Norwegian Dreamliner have been switched to an older and less comfortable aircraft operated by the Portuguese charter operator, Hi-Fly.