| NEW YORK, April 5
NEW YORK, April 5 Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA
will launch nonstop transatlantic flights from two more
U.S. airports this fall, the airline announced on Wednesday,
ramping up pressure on larger carriers to compete with the
emerging low-fare airline.
Beginning in mid-September, Norwegian will offer nonstop
flights from Denver International and Seattle-Tacoma
International airports to London's Gatwick Airport, bringing the
carrier's total number of nonstop United States-to-London
flights to nine routes.
An escalating fare war to court transatlantic passengers has
pushed down ticket prices even among established carriers.
Air France and International Consolidated Airlines
Group SA, which owns British Airways and Iberia, have
both announced plans for low-cost flights to compete with budget
upstarts like Norwegian. Lufthansa is expanding services to
long-haul cost-conscious travelers through its Eurowings
Norwegian's U.S. network expansion comes after the carrier
received a long-awaited U.S. approval in December for its Irish
subsidiary, Norwegian Air International, to operate routes
across the Atlantic.
U.S. airlines and unions representing industry workers have
argued that the Norwegian subsidiary will undermine wages and
working standards - claims Norwegian has dismissed.
"With our continuous U.S. expansion, we also bring even more
tourists to the U.S. and support American jobs," Thomas Ramdahl,
Norwegian’s Chief Commercial Officer, said in a statement.
To keep costs low, Norwegian typically flies to and from
smaller airports with lower fees.
Norwegian spokesman Anders Lindstrom said that while the
carrier was expanding the international travel market to
passengers who otherwise could not afford pricey transatlantic
flights, it was also siphoning away customers who were "fed up"
with high-priced tickets at other airlines.
Prices for the new Denver and Washington state routes begin
at $199 for a one-way no-frills ticket, but passengers can
spring for a seat in the premium cabin, which includes checked
baggage, seat reservation and other perks, starting at $839.
No nonstop flights appear between Denver International and
Gatwick on Google Flights, but ticket prices for indirect
flights start at just over $500 for a one-way, mid-September
Norwegian Air's expansion strategy has helped it to more
than double revenue since 2012. Last year revenue rose 16
percent to 26 billion Norwegian crowns ($3.12 billion) and the
company has placed orders for 260 aircraft from Boeing and
Airbus, which it will receive over several years.
Norwegian said it planned to continue to grow its U.S. route
network, calling Paris "a natural next step" for Denver and
(Reporting by Alana Wise; Editing by Andrew Hay)