MIAMI — Norwegian continues its unstoppable expansion into the United States by adding new nonstop routes from its European hubs to two all-new airports: Miami and San Francisco.
In a surprising move, Norwegian will swap its current Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to London-Gatwick (LGW) service to neighboring rival, Miami International Airport (MIA).
Similarly, the airline will launch new services from LGW to San Francisco (SFO), swapping from Oakland International Airport (OAK), and add two new services from Boston-Logan International Airport to Madrid (MAD) and Rome-Fiumicino (FCO).
The Surprise: Miami & Oakland
Norwegian is making some interesting additions and changes to its network in the United States.
The airline claims that the Miami and San Francisco swaps “will strengthen the airline’s operations in both states.”
“The reason for moving our London operation from Fort Lauderdale to Miami, as well as from Oakland to San Francisco, is threefold,” tells Airways a Norwegian spokesman.
“It will provide us with better yield, better cargo opportunities, and we will be visible in more search engines for attracting potential customers,” he said.
However, it is clear that with the London-Gatwick route, the airline has more ambitious plans.
“We want to move our most successful route in order to make it even more successful. London attracts a large number of business travelers, which provides greater opportunities for our competitive Premium cabin out of Miami and San Francisco, whereas the other routes are more leisure focused and therefore more suited for Fort Lauderdale and Oakland,” he explained.
According to Norwegian, this move will begin March 31, 2019, with the Miami to London service scheduled daily, and the San Francisco flight running five times per week.
As far as Miami is concerned, these are tremendous news. Greg Chin, MIA’s Communications and Digital Marketing Director, pointed out that Norwegian will become the airport’s 89th scheduled carrier.
With 12 charter airlines also visiting MIA, “we’re 100+ airlines strong, with many more on the way,” Chin proudly said.
Norwegian will be entering in direct competition with six other nonstop flights to London (Heathrow) operated by full-service carriers American Airlines (AA), British Airways (BA), and Virgin Atlantic (VS).
Miami International Airport’s Director and CEO, Lester Sola, said to be “honored by Norwegian’s decision to launch its first-ever Miami service, which will soon provide our passengers with yet another nonstop travel option to the United Kingdom and Europe.”
Sola added that, from his airport, “nearly one million passengers already travel to and from the UK annually.”
The addition of a low-cost carrier to the coveted Miami-London market will certainly spike things up in terms of pricing and availability.
Norwegian joins Eurowings, XL Airways, and TUI, as other European long-haul/low-cost operators flying to MIA.
Notably, Miami becomes the airline’s fourth destination, following Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Tampa, which welcomed its first flight from LGW in early November.
As far as Fort Lauderdale’s Norwegian operations are concerned, the airline will continue to run its already strong network to Barcelona, Copenhagen, Fort-de-France, Oslo, Paris-Orly, Pointe-a-Pitre, and Stockholm.
It is likely that Norwegian’s head-to-head competition with British Airways on the FLL-LGW route might have pushed them to move to MIA and try to poach some of the more cost-sensitive travelers that are constrained to fly with the other three carriers operating the route.
Boston To Rome, Madrid
In addition to Miami and Oakland, Boston will also be getting significant add-ons. Two new services from BOS will run from March 31 next year, complementing the airline’s current LGW and ORY flights.
The Boston to Rome service will commence on a four times per week basis, followed by Madrid, which is scheduled to launch on a three times per week basis, starting May 2, 2019.
On top of these two routes, the carrier will also boost frequencies on several other US long-haul destinations for next year’s Summer season:
|Origin||Destination||Current Frequency||Frequency Change|
|Denver||Paris||2x weekly||3x weekly|
|Fort Lauderdale||Paris||2x weekly||3x weekly|
|Los Angeles||Paris||6x weekly||Daily|
|Los Angeles||Madrid||3x weekly||4x weekly|
|Los Angeles||Rome||3x weekly||4x weekly|
|New York||Madrid||4x weekly||Daily|
|Oakland||Rome||2x weekly||3x weekly|
|Orlando||Paris||1x weekly||2x weekly|
“Transatlantic low fares resonate very well with both American leisure and business travelers,” he said. “Our new routes and increased frequencies will make us even more competitive, while offering Americans more options and more ways to save and enjoy travel.”
With this, the low-cost carrier increases its footprint into the United States arena with 17 destinations, offering more than 50 nonstop flights to its European hubs.
Hello, Rio de Janeiro
Moving further South, from March 31, 2019, Norwegian will provide a four times weekly service to Rio de Janeiro (GIG) on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Kjos stated that this new route is also part of the airline’s “expansive global network by launching the UK’s most affordable flights to Brazil and making South America available to even more consumers.”
Kjos continued to say that this route is “a fantastic addition” to Norwegian’s network, and that it “breaks the monopoly on direct flights between the UK and Brazil” in an effort commitment to lower fares.
Equipment of choice will be the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, offering up to 35 seats in Premium Economy in a 2-3-2 configuration, as well as 309 seats in Economy in a 3-3-3 format.
Overall, this expansion into the Americas is not only significant in terms of reach, but it also secures that in case of an increase in costs and a reduction in margins, Norwegian will be positioned to take advantage of unexploited revenues and establish its brand into more airports throughout its network.
Article Written by Enrique Perrella and James Field