Norwegian puts United Kingdom front and center of ambitious global expansion plans

The low-cost airline Norwegian is planning to expand its long-haul flight network around the world with London Gatwick as its base

The low-cost airline Norwegian is planning to expand its long-haul flight network around the world with London Gatwick as its baseBO MATHISEN

He added that United Kingdom passengers will be first to benefit from the airline's newest routes and efforts to improve passenger experience. The incoming aircraft will include 56 premium seats, up from 35 on those now in service. It also intends to increase frequency on key routes from Gatwick to give business customers more flexibility. It also says that two-thirds of its expansion this year will be adding frequency to routes already launched. London to Buenos Aires will become a daily service this winter, while increases are planned for its LA and Fort Lauderdale routes.

The chief executive, Bjorn Kjos, said Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing could be in his airline's sights if the airline receives permission from Moscow to fly along the "Siberian corridor" - the most efficient and direct routing across Russian Federation to the Far East.

Kos believes that the United Kingdom offers "Norwegian a springboard to further expansion as we aim to become the long-haul airline of choice for passengers seeking a high-quality service at great value".

The airline's CEO also unveiled plans to put Gatwick Airport at the heart of the expansion.

Norwegian also announced that from 2020 it would use eight new single-aisle Airbus (AIR.PA) A321neoLRs, now undergoing test flights including across the Atlantic, to fly from Britain to cities on the U.S east coast and in the mid-west, keeping up the pressure on established airlines. It adds that it will also consider Middle Eastern routes for the A321LR.

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"UK passengers will be the first to benefit from our newest routes and upgraded long-haul passenger experience".

"Long-haul Wi-Fi will be rolled out from the end of this year on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with plans to offer a free Wi-Fi option and a paid high-speed option, fast enough to stream movies and TV shows".

Off the back of the success of its Buenos Aires route, Norwegian said it would soon offer British passengers onward travel on the continent as it prepared to launch domestic services after receiving an Air Operator's Certificate from Argentine authorities.

The airline, which entered the low-priced, long-haul fray in 2014 with transatlantic services selling at headline-grabbing fares of £99, also says it is planning an assault on the business class market, adding more premium seats to its new 787 Dreamliner aircraft and increasing the number of flights a week to destinations such as Los Angeles and Miami.

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