EasyJet, the low-fare airline launched by the son of a Greek shipowner, will start flying a route between London and Bergen next month, and looks set to pose more serious competition to Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). EasyJet also is expected to expand its routes to and from Norwegian airports.
“We’re looking at more routes to Norway,” Paul Simmons of easyJet told newspaper Aftenposten this week. That, says airline analyst Richard Björnelid, would challenge SAS because easyJet has targeted the business travelers that long have formed an important part of SAS’ customer base. EasyJet also uses major airports in the more than 30 countries it serves, unlike the outlying airports used by other low-fare carriers.
EasyJet, due to launch daily flights between its main hub at London’s Gatwick Airport and Bergen on May 20, will also mean more competition for Norway’s own low-fare carrier Norwegian Air, which targets both leisure and business travelers. Norwegian itself recently set up a base of its own at easyJet’s hub at Gatwick, and “it would be naive to think that easyJet hasn’t noticed” it, Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen of Norwegian told Aftenposten.
SAS claims it has met competition from easyJet in Copenhagen and takes all competition seriously. EasyJet’s arrival comes just as another low-fare carrier, Ryanair, faces complaints and legal challenges in Norway over its operations and labour practices.