Norwegian will introduce a direct service between Oslo and Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport from this winter bringing additional transatlantic connectivity to next year’s Routes Americas host city and almost $15 million in annual economic impact and direct visitor spend.
The low-cost carrier will offer a weekly service from November 1, 2016 adding to the existing links it offers to the popular US conference and leisure destination from Copenhagen and Stockholm which were launched last November. The flight will be operated using a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner configured with 291-seats.
This will be the eighth new long-haul route to be inaugurated by Norwegian this year and will raise its US network to 38 routes. This growth will see the launch of flights to Boston from Copenhagen, London and Oslo, the introduction of long-haul flights from Paris to Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles and New York and the addition of a London – Oakland operation.
“We are adding direct service from Las Vegas to Oslo thanks in large part to the great performance of our Stockholm and Copenhagen flights. Before launching the service this past November, there were no direct flights from this US city to Scandinavia,” Thomas Ramdahl, chief commercial officer, Norwegian.
The Oslo to Las Vegas flights will operate on Mondays and will complement the Tuesday service from Stockholm and Saturday link from Copenhagen. Norwegian is also increasing the frequency of its Oslo - Los Angeles flights for winter 2016, which will operate on a twice weekly basis with flights every Tuesday and Friday.
Norwegian already operates non-stop flights from Oslo to New York, Puerto Rico, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Orlando and San Francisco in the USA, while flights to Boston will start in April.
"This announcement is a clear sign that the route is doing very well, and there is a need for more frequent flights. The US is a very popular destination for Norwegians, and we are now seeing that direct routes have become particularly popular, both for people heading out for holidays and for business travellers," said Jasper Spruit, vice president of traffic development, Oslo Airport.
McCarran International Airport has long partnered with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority in efforts to attract air service to Las Vegas. Overall, the airport generates $30 billion for the local economy and directly employs around 18,000 people and in 2013 they partnered to host World Routes for its first ever visit to the United States of America.
They are again joining forces to host the regional Routes Americas forum next year (it takes place between February 14-16, 2017) having seen first-hand the value that comes in hosting a Routes event and bringing airline decision makers from around the world into the city. After hosting World Routes in 2013, the airport gained over 120 weekly flights with an estimated annual economic impact of $450 million in non-gaming revenue.
Rosemary Vassiliadis, director of aviation for Clark County, Nevada, which owns and operates McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas said that travellers on both sides of the Atlantic have “responded enthusiastically” to this winter’s new direct connectivity to Denmark and Sweden. “I’m confident Norwegian’s forthcoming Oslo flights will become just as popular as its excellent service from Stockholm and Copenhagen has been,” she added.
Nearly half of Las Vegas’ 42 million visitors a year travel by air and with aviation driving tourism development, the lifeblood of the local economy, the value of enhanced air connectivity is clear to see for Las Vegas, a destination that firmly understands the value of air service development due to the tourism and convention industries being so high on the city’s agenda.
“With this new [Norwegian] route to Las Vegas, we are anticipating more than $14 million in annual economic impact and direct visitor spend. The new accessibility will introduce Las Vegas to millions of potential visitors and help our goal of increasing international visitation over the next decade,” said Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Even without regular non-stop flights between the three Scandinavian capitals and Las Vegas, around 40,000 passengers a year have been flying between Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm and Las Vegas and Norwegian’s low-cost, long-haul offer is likely to significantly stimulate this market.
Norwegian currently operates eight 787-8s and a single 787-9 and has recently signed an agreement with AerCap to lease an additional two new 787-9s for delivery in 2018. With this new agreement, the company’s long-haul fleet will consist of 40 Dreamliners by 2020.
“In order to offer customers more routes and make our intercontinental operation even more competitive, we are dependent on more brand new cost-efficient aircraft. Our intercontinental operation is crucial to the company’s global growth and the creation of new jobs,” said Bjørn Kjos, chief executive officer, Norwegian.
The executive was this month a guest at the Aviation Club of the UK and used the speaking opportunity at the Institute of Directors to highlight the success of its long-haul operation and how the carrier had created a new market for low-cost transatlantic travel that, he said, continues to prove popular with passengers.
“Our very first low-cost long haul services started in 2013 with many predicting it would never last and we were destined for failure - but we always had complete confidence. Three years later with more than 30 transatlantic routes and load factors well over 90 percent, Norwegian and our passengers have proved that low-cost long-haul can work,” he confirmed.