Low-cost airline Norwegian has announced plans to shake up the transatlantic travel market offering super low fares.
Point of view
The fares they've launched are clearly just designed to get some headline media coverageCEO, International Airlines Group
One-way flights between the US and Europe would initially cost as little as $65 or 69 euros, but there are lots of conditions and only a very few seats at those prices.
The company’s boss Bjorn Kjos said: “We are launching the new Boeing 737 planes we get this summer, and with those we’ll be able to fly incredibly cheaply to the USA.”
There are several catches; the few tickets at those low, low prices don’t include baggage, food and drink, a seat reservation, headphones, a blanket and pillow or other perks.
Ireland and Scotland to small US airports
The company will fly from airports in Belfast, Northern Ireland; Cork, Dublin and Shannon in the Republic of Ireland; and Edinburgh, Scotland.
The planned US destinations are Stewart International Airport in Orange County, New York, about 70 miles from New York City; T.F. Green Airport in Providence and Bradley International Airport in Hartford, all several hours travel from New York or Boston.
Norwegian recently received the necessary permits from the US authorities after much delay due to strong opposition from aviation unions, particularly the Airline Pilots Association, as well as US based carriers.
The single-aisle 189-seat Boeing 737-MAX aircraft in its fleet are normally used for shorter haul journeys.
wow_air</a> & <a href="https://twitter.com/Fly_Norwegian">Fly_Norwegian are among the biggest increases in seat capacity on Europe-US networks across the summer season incl
CorkAirport</a> <a href="https://t.co/aAyBfq0DXJ">pic.twitter.com/aAyBfq0DXJ</a></p>— Cork Airport (CorkAirport) February 22, 2017
The burgeoning competition on transatlantic routes has prompted action by more established European airlines.
British Airways and Iberia owner IAG is planning to start low-cost transatlantic flights from Barcelona this year to US destinations. Chief Executive Officer Willie Walsh said: “I’ve always said we’ll compete with Norwegian. The difference between Norwegian and us is we’re profitable. The fares they’ve launched are clearly just designed to get some headline media coverage. They’re not sustainable.”
Air France, part of Franco-Dutch group Air France-KLM, also plans a new low-cost unit in a project dubbed Boost.
Lufthansa is also expanding long-haul budget flying through its Eurowings business.