Norwegian to Open London Gatwick Base

Nordic budget carrier Norwegian has revealed a major expansion of its activities in the Spanish and UK markets with new operating bases due to be opened in Alicante and London Gatwick from spring 2013.  The airline says it “sees a major passenger potential in London” and will introduce new links to several Mediterranean destinations and the Nordic region from the UK capital.  The Alicante base will complement its existing operations at Malaga and Las Palmas.

Norwegian first started serving London in June 2003 when it inaugurated flights from Oslo.  It originally served Stansted Airport, but in October 2007 made its debut at Gatwick with the introduction of the airport’s own Oslo link.  It has subsequently increased its presence at Gatwick and now serves it from ten separate destinations across the Nordic and Scandinavian regions with almost 150 weekly frequencies.  It is now the most popular destination outside its home market, says the airline.

Interestingly, according to Norwegian this network growth will “allow it to better meet the head-on competition from Asian and European carriers in the long-haul market,” ahead of the launch of its own flights to Asia and the USA, although it confirms it has no immediate plans to launch such flights from outside of its home market.

“By establishing a new base in London, Norwegian will be positioned to meet the future competition on short-haul routes within Europe as well as long-haul routes globally.  Growth and volumes are necessary to stay competitive in the airline industry,” said Bjørn Kjos, Chief Executive Officer, Norwegian.  It will initially base three Boeing 737-800s at London Gatwick but will add a fourth aircraft by the end of 2013.

Norwegian currently has bases of operations in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Spain, while a new base for the company’s long-haul subsidiary is being established in Bangkok.  The airline currently operates 64 aircraft on 294 routes to more than 114 destinations and handles just under 16 million passengers in 2011 ranking it as one of Europe’s top low-cost ventures.

Norwegian will more than double its capacity at London Gatwick through this growth and is expected to operate over 300 weekly flights during summer 2013.  Its new routes are understood to comprise Alicante, Barcelona, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Las Palmas, Malaga, Palma and Tenerife in Spain; Montpellier and Nice in France; Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia; Faro, Portugal and Rome, Italy.   As the table below shows these are all already served directly from London Gatwick

EXISTING CAPACITY AND DEMAND ON PROPOSED NEW NORWEGIAN ROUTES FROM LONDON GATWICK BASE (non-stop departures; October 2012 – bi-directional O&D traffic; 2011)

Destination

Flights

Seats

Operators

Estimated O&D Demand

Arrecife (ACE)

65

14,919

easyJet, Monarch Airlines, Thomson Airways, Thomas Cook Airlines

197,794

Alicante (ALC)

167

31,280

easyJet, Monarch Airlines, Thomson Airways

699,667

Barcelona (BCN)

235

40,088

easyJet, Monarch Airlines

522,706

Dubrovnik (DBV)

79

12,748

British Airways, easyJet, Monarch Airlines, Thomson Airways

108,553

Faro (FAO)

213

39,474

British Airways, easyJet, Monarch Airlines, Thomson Airways

630,263

Rome (FCO)

158

24,294

British Airways, easyJet

458,202

Fuerteventura (FUE)

29

6,498

easyJet, Monarch Airlines, Thomson Airways, Thomas Cook Airlines

23,919

Las Palmas (LPA)

42

9,792

easyJet, Thomson Airways, Thomas Cook Airlines

125,194

Malaga (AGP)

320

57,044

British Airways, easyJet, Monarch Airlines, Thomson Airways

48,843

Montpellier (MPL)

28

4,368

easyJet

100,620

Nice (NCE)

193

29,052

British Airways, easyJet

319,310

Palma (PMI)

172

35,744

easyJet, Monarch Airlines, Thomson Airways, Thomas Cook Airlines

491,673

Split (SPU)

10

1,584

Croatia Airlines, easyJet

82,235

Tenerife (TFS)

121

28,680

easyJet, Monarch Airlines, Thomson Airways, Thomas Cook Airlines

421,715

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