DALLAS – Norse Atlantic Airways (N0), the latest European long-haul low-cost carrier based in Norway and the UK, has announced further worldwide expansion. It will add four new destinations in the Caribbean and Thailand, two markets the company has not touched until today.
The LCC will start operating flights to Barbados (BGI), Kingston (KIN), and Montego Bay (MBJ) at the end of October 2023. These airports will be connected out of Norse’s UK London-Gatwick Airport (LGW) hub.
N0 CEO, Bjorn Tore Larsen, said, “We are very pleased to announce the launch of these new winter sun routes from London Gatwick. More travelers will now be able to experience these amazing destinations thanks to our low fares and those wishing to reunite with friends and family will have a greater choice during this traditionally high-demand period of travel.
“This winter Norse Atlantic will proudly become the second largest long haul carrier at London Gatwick by seat capacity and we are looking forward to welcoming on board both returning and new customers.”
At the moment of writing, Norse UK (Z0) has increased its fleet from one to five aircraft in the last three months, all Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners coming from its parent entity based in Oslo.
Comeback To Thailand
Along with announcing the expansion to the Caribbean, Norse has also launched another new destination to their network, this time in Asia. Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) will also be served by the airline twice a week from Oslo-Gardermoen (OSL) from November 2, 2023.
This could technically be interpreted as a relaunch of this route, as the predecessor of Norse, Norwegian Long-Haul (DU), did operate flights to Southeast Asia, including Bangkok (BKK) and Krabi (KBV) prior to its cessation of operations in January 2021.
Norse Atlantic will utilize its Boeing 787-9 aircraft on all these flights. The Dreamliners are configured to carry 282 Economy Class seats and 56 Premium Economy seats, the latest featuring a 43-inch pitch and 12-inch recline, allowing passengers to arrive at their destination refreshed and ready to explore their destination.
Norse Taking the Right Path
Until today’s announcement, the route network presented by Norse Atlantic Airways focused almost exclusively on a market heavily dominated by premium airlines such as Delta Air Lines (DL), Air France (AF), or Lufthansa (LH). Operating prestigious routes like the famous London and Paris to New York routes can, on any day, see up to six different carriers competing for the demand.
This market is challenging for Norse, as its product is more focused on attracting leisure than standard passengers. Offering much fewer amenities, like the lack of complimentary carry-on baggage and with fares only 10-15% cheaper than the premium competition, has profoundly impacted bookings.
This was reflected in N0’s annual 2022 report, which stated that their average load factor barely surpassed 60%, a number no airline should be proud of.
Now, with the launch of flights to the Caribbean and Thailand, Norse has placed its eyes on a much more familiar market, the leisure market, which it was clearly designed for. On routes like London to Bridgetown, the number of competitors stands at just two airlines; British Airways (BA) and TUI Airways UK (BY).
Despite this, Norse should not lower its guard, as it doesn’t count on a backup demand of tourists supported by package holiday enterprises like TUI, and it remains an airline playing “alone” in this market.
Featured image: Norse Atlantic Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo: Francesco Cecchetti/Airways.