Norwegian adding 50 routes but dropping nine for S14; ASK growth of 31% thanks to new US services

Norwegian's latest "base" announcement was on 28 November in Barcelona.

Norwegian’s latest “base” announcement was on 28 November in Barcelona. There will be four new routes to Berlin, Hamburg, Oslo Torp and Warsaw starting next April, representing 8% of the airline’s 50 new routes for next summer. Across the whole network London Gatwick and Oslo will see the biggest increase in weekly departures while four US airports are the only completely new destinations for Norwegian next summer.

In the last 12 months, Norwegian has carried more than 20 million passengers (at an average load factor of 78.2%), firmly establishing it as Europe’s third largest LCC. In recent weeks the airline has announced expansion plans at a number of Spanish airports (Barcelona and Madrid), while long-haul operations to its second US destination (Fort Lauderdale) have begun.

With the majority of next summer’s seat capacity now on sale, takes a look at how the airline’s summer 2014 operations compare with those of this summer. Of the airline’s top 12 airports (by weekly departures), 11 will see more flights next summer than this, with only Bergen seeing its operations unchanged (in terms of total flights). Norwegian’s three main Scandinavian hubs all see growth of around 7%, while London Gatwick is now in a clear fourth position, and will see a 40% increase in flights (and an 85% increase in ASKs thanks to the launch of transatlantic flights). The airline’s three biggest Spanish airports (Alicante, Barcelona and Malaga) are all set for double-digit growth next summer.

Norwegian's top 12 airports in S14 Increase in flights (number of weekly departures in S14)

Source: Innovata / Diio Mi for w/c 15 July 2013 and w/c 14 July 2014

Across the airline’s network the number of weekly flights is expected to grow by around 12%, but the growth in long-haul operations means that ASKs (Available Seat Kilometres) are set to grow by 31%.

London Gatwick and Oslo see biggest increase in number of flights

Analysis of which airports will see the largest increase in weekly departures (in absolute rather than percentage terms), reveals that London Gatwick and Oslo lead the way with 58 and 48 more weekly departures respectively. Of the 12 fastest-growing airports, four are in Scandinavia, six are in Spain, with the UK and Germany each represented by one airport.

Norwegian's fastest-growing airports Increase in weekly departures (S14 v S13)

Source: Innovata / Diio Mi for w/c 15 July 2013 and w/c 14 July 2014

Hamburg, which will become an easyJet base next summer, will see the number of weekly flights increase from three to 23, with the addition of six new routes to Spain; Alicante, Barcelona, Gran Canaria, Madrid, Malaga and Tenerife Sur.

50 new routes and eight ‘new’ airports added to network

Comparing schedule data for July 2014 with July 2013 reveals that eight airports will have Norwegian flights next summer, that did not have any this July. Four of these are in the US (Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Oakland and Orlando), one in Sweden (Kiruna), one in Finland (Turku) and two in Spain (Lanzarote and Tenerife Sur), though both of these Spanish airports have been served by Norwegian during previous winter seasons. In fact, Kiruna and Turku have also been served in the past, making the four US destinations the only ones to welcome their first ever Norwegian flights next summer.

In total around 50 routes will be operating next summer for the first time, with London Gatwick routes to Madrid and Tenerife Sur having the highest frequencies, with both routes operated daily. Of the 50 routes, 13 are transatlantic services from Scandinavia and the UK, while the shortest new route is the 925-kilometre service between Stockholm Arlanda and Kiruna, which will operate six times weekly.

Nine routes no longer served, all Liverpool flights to end

Detailed analysis of schedule data currently available indicates that there are nine routes that Norwegian will not be operating next summer, that were operating this summer. These are summarised in the following table.

Route Date last operated WF S13 km Competition in S14 (WF)
Harstad/Narvik – Oslo Torp 18 August 2013 3 1,083
Copenhagen – Bratislava 29 September 2013 2 885
Copenhagen – Milan Malpensa 25 October 2013 5 1,143 easyJet (14), SAS (14)
Bergen – Kristiansand 25 October 2013 3 285 Widerøe (35)
Copenhagen – Belgrade 26 October 2013 1 1,318 Air Serbia (7)
Bergen – Alesund 5 January 2014 2 257 SAS (16)
Oslo – Aalborg 19 January 2014 6 354 British Airways (15), SAS (3)
Oslo – Cologne Bonn 28 March 2014 3 1,069
Copenhagen – Liverpool 28 March 2014 2 1,033
Source: Innovata / Diio Mi for w/c 15 July 2013 and w/c 14 July 2014

The demise of the Copenhagen-Liverpool service at the end of March, will mean that Liverpool becomes the only airport to lose all of its Norwegian services. The route was launched in April 2013. On five of the nine routes other carriers will continue to serve the markets. The Oslo to Cologne Bonn route was previously served by germanwings between 2004 and 2006, so this route may yet make a comeback. There is less reason to be optimistic about the future of the Copenhagen-Bratislava route. Prior to Norwegian serving the market, the route was operated by Bratislava-based Sky Europe between 2005 and 2009.


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