MIAMI — Low-cost long-haul carrier Norwegian announced on Thursday its plans to launch flights from New York, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), in a move that challenges the dominance of Air France on some of its most U.S. lucrative routes.
“Paris is one the most visited cities in the world, attracting both business and leisure travelers alike all-year round” said Bjørn Kjos, Norwegian’s CEO and founder. “We see great potential and demand for our transatlantic service, and we will continue to offer customers more direct flights and more affordable fares from additional cities both in the U.S. and Europe.”
The new flights, to start on July 29, will operate four times a week from New York, two weekly flights from Los Angeles and a weekly flight from Ft. Lauderdale. According to the airline, this will be its first operation from CDG as to date it operates from Paris Orly (ORY) to five Scandinavian destinations only.
In the last three years, Norwegian has progressively built a strong presence in New York, adding not only flights to Europe but also to the French Caribbean.
For Air France, the arrival of Norwegian to CDG represents a major threat to its leading role in the US – France market. Last December, the airline announced the launch of New York – Orly service in a move intended to defend its profitable New York – Paris routes.
Currently, the French carrier faces a turbulent labor relationship and fleet cuts, and now it will face a stiff competition in one of its premium routes with a well organized and expansive low-cost carrier. OpenSkies, a France-based transatlantic airline owned by British Airways (BA), also competes with Air France on the New York – Paris route.
Norwegian will add four long-haul routes from the U.S. before its Paris service launch: Boston-London on March 27; Boston-Oslo on April 2; Oakland/San Francisco-London on May 12; and Boston-Copenhagen on May 17.