Low-fare airline Norwegian Air followed through this week on plans to launch additional long-haul routes to the US, using its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Expansion of its Asian service is on hold.
“First we take the USA,” claimed Norwegian founder and chief executive Bjørn Kjos as he announced new direct routes to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orlando from both Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen.
Kjos claimed that the West Coast of the US is underserved from Scandinavia, but claimed his airline still sees its greatest growth potential in the Asian market. The new routes to California and Florida will begin over the next few months as Norwegian takes delivery of six more of its Dreamliners, delayed because of technical trouble earlier this year.
Rival airline Ryanair, meanwhile, ran ads in local newspapers this week noting that Norwegian had registered its aircraft in its home base of Ireland. Ryanair thus publicly “welcomed” Norwegian to Ireland.
Ryanair, which is in the midst of a conflict over whether its Norwegian operations are subject to Norwegian or Irish law, claimed that Norwegian “can try to imitate us by registering yourselves in Ireland, but you can’t beat out low fares.” Ryanair, however, doesn’t offer any long-haul intercontinental service.