The first shots have been fired in a low-cost air war across the Atlantic.
Europe’s third largest budget airline – Norwegian Air – has just started flights from London’s Gatwick Airport to the United States for the equivalent of less than 200 euros – one way, off peak.
On different days it is flying to Los Angeles, New York and Florida using Boeing 787 Dreamliners. It already runs services from Oslo to the US.
Both its larger rivals, Ryanair and easyJet have talked about offering flights to the United States. Ryanair has indeed said it will do that by 2019.
The service faces opposition from US politicians. They tried to block it saying Norwegian Air was circumventing European labour laws.
Lawmakers in Washington complained the planes would be registered in Ireland and that cheaper staff would be used at local bases in Europe, Asia and the US, thereby creating an unfair competition advantage.
For the moment the company is using its Norwegian Air Operators Certificate, rather than an Irish AOC, which means the planes can fly into the US.
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