Norwegian growing in UK and US as Nordic markets stabilise; almost 20 new routes this summer but Oslo Torp sees big cuts

Norwegian - Las Vegas

Next winter Las Vegas will be served weekly from Copenhagen and Stockholm. “Norwegian Heroes” on the airline’s tail fins are a hallmark of Norwegian. Recently, after deciding “we are a Nordic company” it extended this respect to other Nordic personalities such as Sweden’s Greta Garbo. On this basis, as Norwegian.com expands its non-Nordic bases, anna.aero wonders how long it will be before UK, Irish and possibly even US faces also appear.

Norwegian’s attempt to diversify its route network away from its limited Nordic market appears to be meeting with limited success. Not helped by a recent pilot strike, the airline reported a negative 18% operating margin in the first quarter of 2015 (the worst in the world so far reported this year according to Airline Weekly) though this is an improvement on its performance in the same quarter a year ago. The airline’s long-haul ambitions continue to be a source of friction with various authorities, but Norwegian continues to grow its transatlantic route network, not only from Scandinavia but also from the UK.

In terms of ASKs (Available Seat Kilometres – which takes into account sector length), the Spanish market is second only to Norway for the carrier, ahead of Sweden and Denmark. With bases in mainland Spain and the Canary Islands, Norwegian is taking advantage of these popular year-round tourist destinations. Since 2014 the biggest growth in ASKs has been generated in the UK and the US, helped significantly by the airline’s transatlantic services from London Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale, New York and Los Angeles, which began in July 2014. Norwegian also operates long-haul to the US (and Thailand) from Copenhagen, Oslo Gardermoen and Stockholm Arlanda.

Chart - Norwegian 2005-2015 Annual departing ASKs (billions) in top 7 country markets

Source: OAG Schedule Analyser.

Among the airline’s four local markets of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, current schedule data suggests that ASKs will be virtually unchanged this year in Finland and Sweden, up about 10% in Denmark and down 3% in Norway. In contrast, the UK and US markets will both see an ASK increase of around 30% in 2015.

Net increase of just five routes this summer

Analysis of schedule data for the peak summer period of August reveals that the airline’s total route network has grown by less than 1.5%, from 361 routes to 366. However, this modest net gain of just five routes hides the fact that the airline has actually launched 23 new routes since last summer, but also dropped 18. From its home base of Oslo Gardermoen, Norwegian has suspended non-stop service this summer to Bratislava, Cologne Bonn, Ibiza and Kiev Boryspil. The airport where Norwegian has made the most significant cuts is Oslo Torp. Since last summer routes to Antalya, Barcelona, Dubrovnik, Nice, Palma de Mallorca and Trondheim have been suspended, with Bergen flights ending on 31 May. The new routes launched since last August are summarised below:

Launched From To WF Comment
15 September 2014 London (LGW) Berlin (SXF) 6
Warsaw (WAW)
28 October 2014 Gran Canaria (LPA) 1
30 October 2014 Copenhagen (CPH) Bangkok (BKK) 2
1 November 2014 London (LGW) Funchal (FNC) Winter only
La Palma (SPC) 1 Winter only
13 December 2014 Grenoble (GNB) Winter only
Salzburg (SZG) Winter only
29 March 2015 Madrid (MAD) Birmingham (BHX) 3
Nice (NCE) 2
30 March 2015 Copenhagen (CPH) Orlando (MCO) 1
Malaga (AGP) Birmingham (BHX) 3
Tenerife (TFS) Warsaw (WAW) 1
31 March 2015 Madrid (MAD) Dubrovnik (DBV) 2
Malaga (AGP) Edinburgh (EDI)
4 April 2015 London (LGW) Orlando (MCO) 1
Madrid (MAD) Catania (CTA)
18 April 2015 London (LGW) Kefallinia (EFL) Until 31 October 2015
25 April 2015 Stockholm (ARN) Bastia (BIA) Until 17 October 2015
24 May London (LGW) Pula (PUY)
1 June 2015 Barcelona (BCN) Billund (BLL) 2
Birmingham (BHX)
3 June 2015 Dubrovnik (DBV)
Trondheim (TRD)
4 June 2015 Stavanger (SVG)
21 June 2015 Bergen (BGO) Riga (RIX) Until 13 August 2015
27 June 2015 Helsinki (HEL) Pula (PUY) 1 Until 15 August 2015
Source: anna.aero’s New Route Database.
Norwegian Birmingham

Norwegian launched its first three routes from Birmingham this summer, to Barcelona, Madrid and Malaga. The airline’s presence in the UK has grown significantly in recent years, now serving over 40 destinations from London Gatwick, four routes from Edinburgh, two routes from Manchester and now three from Birmingham.

New US and Caribbean routes launching in W15/16

While Norwegian’s on-going dispute with US authorities continues, the carrier has announced a number of new services starting this winter. San Juan in Puerto Rico will be served from four airports, while Las Vegas will be served weekly from Copenhagen and Stockholm. The US Virgin Islands airport at St. Croix will be served with weekly flights from Copenhagen.

Launch date From To Country Aircraft (WF)
31 October 2015 Stockholm (ARN) Las Vegas (LAS) USA B788 (1)
1 November 2015 Oslo (OSL) San Juan (SJU) Puerto Rico
3 November 2015 Stockholm (ARN)
4 November 2015 London (LGW) B788 (2)
6 November 2015 Copenhagen (CPH) B788 (1)
9 November 2015 St. Croix (STX) US Virgin Islands
10 November 2015 Las Vegas (LAS) USA
Source: anna.aero’s New Route Database.

Last July, Norwegian launched transatlantic flights from London Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles and New York. Each route was celebrated with a special anna.aero cake. Compared with 2014, Norwegian’s ASKs in the US and UK have grown by 30% in 2015.


Comments

  1. John olson says:

    I am glad that Norwegian is adding flights to/from the United States. We have flown Norwegian several times in Europe and loved them. We just wish they would fly to Chicago.

    Our dream is that Norwegian somehow links with Southwest Airlines, our favorite US airline. IF Norwegian B788 flights were able to land at Chicago Midway and link to Southwest, Europeans and Americans would have a large number of destinations open to them via LCC’s. Since both have great service and similar planes (many B737’s); code share flights I think would work well for passengers. Linkups are also possible at Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, and Dallas Love. (I do NOT know if Midway’s and Love’s runways are long enough, but FLL and LAS are fine).

  2. Gary Reavely says:

    The rise of the Norwegian continues unabated and more to power them. They now oprate two European flights from Edinburgh AGP and TFS and I wonder if they will see the long haul potential that EDI offers for B788 flights to USA and the Caribbean to compete with Thomas Cook from GLA – GO the Vikings

  3. Joeph says:

    Norwegian is has been awarded the best LCC in Europe. We need a link with Norwegian in Canada, so that Canadians can benefit from lower airfares between Europe and Canada.

  4. Philip says:

    Unfortunately all this expansion and diversifying their business is adding additional costs and complexity to their business without a corresponding improvement in revenue. It will be a real challenge for them to sustain long-term profits without a change to their business plan.

Comments are closed