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Norwegian Air Threatens South American Aviation With New Argentinian Airline

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Norwegian Air Threatens South American Aviation With New Argentinian Airline

Norwegian Air Threatens South American Aviation With New Argentinian Airline
August 16
13:00 2017

—Written by Maria Corina Roldan and Enrique Perrella—

MIAMI – The world’s fastest growing Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) has set its eyes in Argentina for an all-new operation. Norwegian Air announced their intention of launching a subsidiary in the South American country—Norwegian Air Argentina—to exploit the market in-and-out of the region.

The LCC is planning to develop two bases in the country—in Buenos Aires (EZE) and Cordoba (COR)—and link them with its hubs in the US and Europe.

Norwegian will also launch flights from London-Gatwick (LGW) to EZE in February 2018, becoming the airline’s 11th long-haul destination from LGW and its very first to South America.

Currently, the airline is offering the new LGW-EZE flight from £299 one-way on its Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It is expected to see the airline operating this route up to four times a week until the new airline hubs are established.

Biddings for Norwegian Air Argentina

Throughout this week, several carriers in Argentina applied for new domestic and international routes to the National Administration of Civil Aviation (ANAC).

Norwegian Air Argentina applied for a total of 75 domestic and 80 international routes, a figure of 155 routes to begin with.

Domestic Routes

Norwegian Air Argentina applied for 34 routes from Buenos Aires to:

  • Bahía Blanca, Bariloche, Catamarca, Comodoro Rivadavia, Córdoba, Corrientes, El Calafete, Esquel, Formosa, San Salvador de Jujuy, La Rioja, Mar de Plata, Mendoza, Neuquén, Paraná, Posadas, Puerto Iguazú, Puerto Madryn, Resistencia, Río Cuarto, Río Gallegos, Río Grande, Salta, San Juan, San Luis, San Martin de los Andes, San Rafael, Santa Fe, Santa Rosa, Santiago del Estero, Trelew, San Miguel de Tucumán, Ushuaia, Viedma.

17 routes from Córdoba to:

  • Bariloche, Comodoro de Rivadavia, El Calafete, San Salvador de Jujuy, Mar de Plata, Mendoza, Neuquén, Posadas, Puerto Iguazú, Resistencia, Rosario, Salta, San Juan, San Luis, Santa Fe, San Miguel de Tucumán, Ushuaia.

6 routes from Mendoza:

  • Comodoro de Rivadavia, San Salvador de Jujuy, Neuquén, Rosario, Salta and San Miguel de Tucumán.

3 routes from Rosario:

  • El Calafete, Puerto Iguazú, and San Rafael.

5 routes from Salta:

  • Comodoro de Rivadia, Puerto Iguazú, Rosario, San Juan y San Miguel de Tucumán.

International Routes

From Buenos Aires to 63 destinations:

  • USA: Chicago, Dallas, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Puerto Rico, and Washington.
  • South America: Asunción in Paraguay; Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Curitiba, Florianópolis, Fortaleza, Maceió, Natal, Porto Alegre, Porto Seguro, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil; Bogotá and Cartagena in Colombia; Caracas in Venezuela; Mexico City and Cancún in México; Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, and La Paz in Bolivia; Guayaquil and Quito in Ecuador; La Habana in Cuba; Lima in Perú; Montevideo in Uruguay; Punta Cana in Dominican Republic; and Santiago in Chile, and Pointe a Pitre in the Caribbean.
  • Europe: Madrid, Malaga, and Barcelona in Spain; Copenhague in Denmark; Papeete and Fort de France, Paris in France; Istanbul in Turkey; Kiev in Ukraine; London in the UK; Rome and Milan in Italy; Oslo in Norway; Prague in the Czech Republic; Stockholm in Sweden; and Zurich in Switzerland.
  • Asia: Tel Aviv in Israel and Moscow in Russia.
  • Africa: Cabo City, Johannesburg in South Africa.
  • Australia: Sydney and Perth.

From Córdoba to 13 destinations:

  • USA: Miami/Fort Lauderdale.
  • South America: Cancun; La Habana; Lima; Punta Cana; Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo; Santiago; and Point a Pitre.
  • Europe: Barcelona, and Madrid.

From Mendoza to 3 destinations:

  • Miami, Santiago, and São Paulo.

And one destination from Rosario to Miami/Fort Lauderdale.

Pricing Constraints for Norwegian

The local Argentinian newspaper Clarin, reported last week that the LCCs applying for new routes approval must price their tickets on par with the lowest offered sales in Argentina. If a ticket is priced by a regular carrier in AR$600, they must not lower that price.

However, Argentina’s economy is marked by the great inflation left during Cristina Kirchner’s administration due to her government policy of adjusted prices that makes regular ticket fares equal to US $10.

Ole Christian Melhus, recently named CEO of Norwegian Air Argentina, said, “We have been very well received by Argentinian authorities and look forward to a fruitful relationship going forward.”

If the Argentinian Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) is granted in the next months, Norwegian will announce their new routes from Argentina as soon as they start tickets sale by the end of the year.

Bjorn Kjos, Norwegian’s CEO, already said that Norwegian Air Argentina would fly to the country from their LGW hub, linking Argentinian cities with Europe, with a special mention to Paris, Barcelona, Oslo, Copenhagen, and Stockholm.

The only carrier that has direct flights to Argentina from London-Heathrow (LHR) is British Airways (BA) with a Boeing 777-300(ER). Conversely, Norwegian Air Argentina will fly from LGW with its Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

All the routes Norwegian applied for its Argentinean subsidiary will be flown with a fleet of Boeing 787-8/-9, Boeing 737 MAX 8/-NG, and Airbus A321neoLR.

Other carriers that also applied for ANAC’s approval on new routes are Avian Líneas Aéreas, Buenos Aires International Airlines, Lasa Group, Just Flight, Polar Líneas Aéreas, and Servicios Aéreos Patagónicos (SAPSA).

Disrupting a disrupted market?

Norwegian’s newest project will come into the South American continent looking to disrupt a market that’s practically owned by two airlines that aren’t performing at the levels they wished, LATAM and Avianca.

LATAM has just re-surfaced after a very long and difficult merger between LAN Airlines and TAM. The airline’s CEO, Enrique Cueto, declared that the airline wouldn’t continue its massive expansion project, but rather focus on improving efficiencies and lowering expenses to fight the region’s LCC growth. Cueto said LATAM was looking for ways to be “more low cost” while continuing to do things better.

As a consequence, and because of Brazil’s poor economic situation, LATAM laid off over 2,000 employees and has leased four of its newest Airbus A350s to Qatar Airways.

Similarly, while Avianca is still trying to cope with its merger with TACA, the rise of LCCs in Colombia, Perú, Chile, and Brazil cannot be ignored. Viva Colombia, Wingo, Viva Air Peru, Azul, and Gol, do represent a big threat to any potential boost in the region.

Norwegian Air Argentina will then woo travelers to avoid flying local carriers and chose their highly disruptive yet highly convenient service on brand-new aircraft at unmatched levels of ease and timeliness.

Although it is highly unlikely that Norwegian will exploit all of the 155 routes they applied for, it certainly does represent a big threat to the North and South American carriers that have dominated the region for so long.

If Norwegian’s disruptive concept is successful in Argentina, things won’t look too good for the other participants in the region.


About Author

Alvaro Sanchez

Alvaro Sanchez

Online Executive Editor. Journalist and Certified Radio Host. Studying for a Specialization in Public Opinion and Political Communications. Even though I love politics I've found myself fascinated by the Aviation World. I'm also passionate by economy, strategic communications, my family, my country, and dogs.

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  1. Maxp
    Maxp August 16, 14:54

    I hope they get the route rights from Buenos Aires to Honolulu, Málaga and Caracas…

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