Norwegian ASKs up almost 20% this summer; LCC’s growth is focussed on UK, Spain and transatlantic routes; Paris CDG latest airport to benefit

On 29 July France became the latest country to get Norwegian service to the US with the launch of services from Paris CDG to New York JFK and Los Angeles

On 29 July France became the latest country to get Norwegian service to the US with the launch of services from Paris CDG to New York JFK and Los Angeles. Cutting the ribbon to mark the event in Paris were Koenraad Slembrouck, Ground Operations Manager for Southern Europe, Norwegian and Didier Leroy Director of Terminal 1&3 Paris CDG.

Among Europe’s PELOCO5 airlines (the Pan European LOw COst 5 comprising Ryanair, easyJet, Norwegian, Vueling and Wizz Air) only one, Norwegian, has so far ventured into the long-haul market. Last week saw the Oslo-based airline introduce flights between Paris CDG and the US, making France the latest European country market from which it operates long-haul flights (joining Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UK). Since launching operations in September 2002, the carrier has grown rapidly and is the leading LCC in the Nordic market.

It now operates a fleet of over 100 737-800s and 11 787s and has placed orders for an additional 400 (!) aircraft. Having grown its fleet by just four aircraft in 2015 (from 95 to 99 aircraft), the airline is currently projecting a fleet of 116 aircraft by the end of 2016, increasing to 144 by the end of 2017 and 159 at the end of 2018. Most of the growth in 2018 will come from 11 additional 787s.

Chart: Norwegian network growth 2006-2016 Routes operated / weekly departures in August

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

In the last decade the number of routes operated in the peak summer period has grown more than five-fold from just 73 in 2006 to 384 this summer. After a net increase of around 50 routes in each of 2012, 2013 and 2014, the rate of network expansion has slowed dramatically in the last couple of years. In S15, Norwegian operated only six more routes than in the previous summer, while this summer sees a net gain of 18 routes compared with last summer.

Oslo tops ASK rankings, London Gatwick up to third

Analysis of ASKs (Available Seat Kilometres, which takes into account sector length frequency and aircraft size) across the whole of the summer season reveals that Norwegian’s S16 programme has increased ASKs by 18% compared with last summer. Around half of this can be explained by the airline’s long-haul expansion, which has pushed up the average sector length. Measured by ASKs, Oslo Gardermoen is still the LCC’s biggest airport ahead of Stockholm Arlanda and London Gatwick. Then comes Copenhagen, Malaga and two US airports. Gatwick’s almost 40% increase in ASKs, if sustained, would see it pass Stockholm next summer and become the airline’s second biggest airport by ASKs.

Chart: Norwegian's top 15 airports by ASKs in S16 ASKs departing from airport (billions) [Change versus S15]

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for S15 and S16.

All of Norwegian’s top 15 airports (by ASKs) have seen ASK growth since S15, ranging from under 1% in Helsinki to 62% in Madrid, 57% in Oakland and 39% at Gatwick. Compared with last summer, Trondheim drops out of the top 15 and is replaced by Oakland in 13th place. Helsinki, which ranked fifth last summer, has fallen to eighth. Five of the top 15 airports are in Spain (shown in bright green).

Oakland Airport in California is the only new entry this summer among Norwegian’s top 15 airports (as measured by ASKs). Contributing to this was the launch in mid-May of a new non-stop service from London Gatwick.

Rapid ASK growth in UK and US

Norwegian serves a total of 39 country markets this summer, up from 36 last year. New for S16 are Guadeloupe, Martinique, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, while flights to Russia have ended for now. Among the top 15 country markets (by ASKs) capacity has fallen at four; Finland, Germany, Poland and Thailand. However, this has been more than compensated for by growth in Hungary (+27%), Spain (+28%), France (+40%), the UK (+43%) and the US (+49%). As a result, the US has jumped from fifth to third, while the UK has overtaken Denmark. It is conceivable that within five years the airline’s biggest country markets might be Spain and the US, with Norway relegated to third position. The four Nordic countries (shown in bright green) all maintain a position in the top seven.

Chart: Norwegian's top 15 countries by ASKs in S16 ASKs departing from airport (billions) (Change versus S15)

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for S16 and S16

On 1 June Palma de Mallorca became Norwegian’s latest Spanish base

On 1 June Palma de Mallorca became Norwegian’s latest Spanish base. On the same day the airline started flights to Barcelona and Madrid. Spanish domestic flights have significantly helped increase the ASKs offered from Spanish airports, which is now Norwegian’s second biggest country market after Norway. Either Spain or the US could soon become the airline’s biggest country market as measured by ASKs.


  1. Chris Van Veen says:

    We’re very happy to see the beautiful Dreamliners and 737-800s at Boston. Hopefully it becomes a station of good potential for the airline.

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