03 July 2014

Norwegian Air Shuttle has launched low cost, long haul services on the ‘hub busting’ Dreamliner aircraft between London Gatwick and the USA.

Passengers can now enjoy the most competitive fares on transatlantic routes including Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL).

After Europe, the US is the UK’s biggest trading partner and accounts for 40% of the London long haul market each year¹. From this week, Norwegian’s new services will help drive competition on these popular routes. However, they also offer proof of emerging aviation trends that will have a major bearing on the airports expansion debate.

Today, the low cost market is the fastest growing airline sector – with forecasts showing this will continue as passengers make the most of competitive fares, great service and slick operations carriers such as Norwegian offer. This week, for the first time in more than 30 years low cost travel to the USA is available to passengers. Fares are available from just £149 one way to New York, £179 to Fort Lauderdale and £199 to Los Angeles.

This has been made possible thanks to a new generation of exceptionally fuel efficient, long range aircraft. Modern ‘hub busting’ aircraft such as the Dreamliner have fewer seats to fill, making direct long haul routes more economically viable for airlines. They will further increase direct travel while reducing the need for connecting traffic across London – which is already the richest point-to-point market globally.

Additionally, the airlines’ own order books demonstrate the difference they expect new generation aircraft to make. Across all airlines, orders for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and its competitor the Airbus A350 vastly outweigh other types of larger aircraft. Today there are more than 1,800 of these new aircraft on order compared to around 222 A380s and 787s – a sure sign of the change.

Stewart Wingate, CEO of London Gatwick, said: “Norwegian’s launch of low cost services to the US clearly demonstrates the game-changing nature of the Dreamliner. The new generation of long haul aircraft have fewer seats and are therefore less reliant on transfer passengers. This is yet another example of how the importance of transfer traffic will continue to decline.

“Times are changing and the Airports Commission must make decisions based on emerging trends and the way modern travellers want to fly. A two-runway Gatwick would meet the needs of a rapidly changing aviation market, which looks very different today than it did even ten years ago. All of the signs point to Gatwick being the obvious choice for expansion.”

Bjørn Kjos, CEO of Norwegian Air Shuttle, said: “We are delighted to launch our US services from London Gatwick this week. A more competitive transatlantic market can only be good news for passengers, in the same way competition between airports in London leads to more choice and better service. To meet the demands of all passengers in the future, and ensure an excellent choice of routes and fares, a new runway must be built at Gatwick.”

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