LONDON – Over the course of this week, Scandinavian carrier Primera Air has announced additional expansion plans into the UK, both transatlantic and also domestic on the European level.
The low-cost carrier is already going to be starting transatlantic flights from London Stansted and Birmingham to New York Newark, Boston, Washington Dulles, and Toronto.
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The carrier will be launching a new service between Manchester and Malaga, which coincides with the carrier’s announcement of opening a new base in Malaga.
“Historically Malaga is our strongest destination, and with more than 1,000 flights last year, it was also our most demanded destination. We see that Malaga is also very popular for UK travelers, so we believe our Manchester route will give British travelers improved flight options,” says Primera Air’s Chief Commercial Officer Anastasija Visnakova.
She also added: “We’re happy that Reykjavik is our first short haul Northern European destination out of UK. For an airline, whose roots stem from Iceland, it is also a somewhat symbolic move”.
On top of this, the Nordic airline will also be opening new winter routes to Tenerife, Alicante, Las Palmas, and Reykjavik from London Stansted and Birmingham this Winter.
Visnakova has also mentioned that the transatlantic flights have added 250 jobs in the UK and North America. Other routes of interest that the carrier will be launching will be to destinations such as Palma Di Mallorca, Barcelona as well as Chania.
With the airline opening new bases and launching new services, this will be complemented with the 20 Boeing 737 MAX 9 and Airbus A321neoLR aircraft that they have on order.
More Market Saturation in the UK on the Way?
Primera Air is expanding significantly out of the UK market, and it begs the question of whether market saturation is slowly approaching the UK.
Considering Norwegian is cementing their presence in London Gatwick and beyond and it’s paving the way ultra-low-cost long-haul and normal ULCC’s come into the UK and thrive far more significantly; compared to British Airways and easyJet, who are trying so hard in an already competitive market to gain as much market share as possible.
And Ryanair is also dominating Europe and a lot of the United Kingdom regarding operations; it will be interesting to see how Primera Air can differentiate themselves as a carrier when they begin operations on the domestic basis.
On the more long-haul perspective with the likes of WOW Air, Norwegian, Icelandair and SAS, it will most definitely be interesting whether those carriers are going to follow suit in terms of the direct trans-Atlantic flights.
We already know that Icelandair and WOW connect onwards to North America via Reykjavik but can that model be sustained if passengers just want to travel direct?
Because of the low price point that Primera Air offers to flyers, although WOW does have the same price point, there could be a price war and more of a harder decision for flyers to make concerning connections or flying direct.
READ MORE: Primera Air To Order Boeing 737 MAX 9s
However, it could be argued that saturation is not occurring in the UK market currently. The rise of LCC’s and ULCC’s into the UK could ultimately result in the demise of carriers such as British Airways that may not be able to compete on the certain dense routes and could force reform in the strategies taken out by the larger airlines.
This is also seen with Air France-KLM’s new airline FlyJOON, which will aim to appeal to the lower price point. IAG is also doing the same launching a low-cost AOC out of Austria.
All of these movements come together and equivalate as a change in the aviation landscape, which could be very volatile to carriers that cannot adapt to the LCC model.