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Norwegian Air Shuttle has unveiled plans to offer transatlantic flights to a number of secondary airports, with its chief executive claiming it will help cut costs in the long term.
The move to offer a one-way flight from Edinburgh to New York for just £56 is sure to catch people’s attention.
Norwegian is one of Europe’s more expensive budget operators but has always had a no-frills approach to long-haul flying.
Now Bjorn Kjos has announced that his airline is preparing to launch services from regional airports to smaller US eastern airports in the coming year.
New fuel-efficient aircraft make the move possible and Norwegian is set to use single-aisle jets – ones normally used for short-haul journeys – on the transatlantic routes.
The low-cost fare between Edinburgh and a secondary hub in New York could pave the way for even more cheap flights in the future too.
Using Stewart International Airport, approximately 70 miles of New York City, or Providence, Rhode Island would mean Norwegian operating costs could be slashed.
They are currently at around €4.3 cents per available seat kilometre – the industry metric used for calculating costs – while changing locations could bring the figure down to €3.6 cents.
Although Ryanair does not release its own comparable figures, experts believe the latter figure is close to what the low-cost Irish carrier operates at.
Mr Kjos said Norwegian is confident in its ability to bring costs down and explained that the more aircraft they can have on long-haul, the less costs the airline will have.
He added that costs would be divided across a greater number of passengers following an expansion into long-haul travel, while using the highly efficient new 737 MAX aircraft from Boeing will be key to keeping costs down.
From 2019, Norwegian has said it plans to use the Airbus A321, Boeing’s largest single-aisle aircraft which offers longer range as a result of improved fuel economy.
This opens up a host of options in the USA and other parts of the world, giving holidaymakers the opportunity to explore the globe for less.
Key to the new flights is the fact that Norwegian was able to secure a foreign air permit from the US Department of Transportation in December.
It recognises Norwegian, based in non-EU Norway, as an Irish-based EU airline which can operate under the ‘open skies’ treaty between the US and EU.
If you’re planning on travelling abroad this year, be sure to organise your long-haul travel insurance in advance.
Date Created: 03/01/2017