Friday, 13 April 2018

Norwegian to increase USA flights from Ireland and Scotland this winter as IAG prepares a take over bid

Norwegian is increasing flights from Edinburgh, Dublin and Shannon airports to the USA during the winter season. The newly added flights are designed to offer more choices for customers heading US-bound and fares start from just €129/£149. 

Europe’s third-largest low-cost airline launched a series of transatlantic routes from Edinburgh, Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Shannon last summer to the US east coast. Norwegian operates brand new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with up to 189 seats to service the routes which serve smaller airports on the US east coast. These airports give passengers more affordable access to the New York and Boston areas in addition to tourist attractions in New England.

From 28 October, Norwegian will commence an increased winter 2018 schedule with the following added flights:


Dublin

At Dublin Airport, Norwegian will continue its increased summer schedule to New York Stewart International Airport and Providence into the winter season with a double daily service and daily service respectively. Fares are now available from €129 to Providence and from €139 to New York.

The airline will use 737 MAX aircraft that are currently based at Dublin Airport, New York Stewart International and Providence airports to service the winter increases. These existing aircraft are being used to operate the current summer schedule at Dublin Airport.

Shannon

At Shannon Airport, Norwegian will deliver a daily service to New York Stewart International Airport this winter as the carrier increases its flights from two a week from the previous winter. Fares are now available from €139.

Norwegian will use existing aircraft based at New York Stewart International Airport to service the increased New York route which are being used to operate the current summer schedule at Shannon Airport.

Edinburgh

Norwegian will maintain daily transatlantic flights at Edinburgh Airport this winter by increasing the New York route to a daily service, up from three flights a week in the previous winter. Fares are now available from £149.

The Boeing 737 MAX aircraft based at Edinburgh Airport, which is being used to service the current summer schedule at Edinburgh Airport, will be used to service the increased New York route from the Scottish capital this winter.

Thomas Ramdahl, Chief Commercial Officer at Norwegian said: “Consumers can now benefit from more high-quality flights to the USA this winter as we focus on boosting services that reflect strong passenger demand.

“We’re giving passengers on both sides of the Atlantic more affordable choice, so we’re delighted to increase the number of flights that brings the US east coast closer to Ireland and Scotland this winter.”

Norwegian also operates the first transatlantic flights in Cork Airport’s 50-year history with a three-weekly service to Providence and the only nonstop services from Belfast to the USA in the busier summer season. Flights from Cork to Providence and Belfast to New York will continue through October and have been received positively by travellers on both sides of the Atlantic. Norwegian will continue to assess its route schedule for summer 2019.

Norwegian is the world’s sixth largest low-cost airline, carrying around 30 million passengers per year to more than 150 global destinations. The airline has around 150 aircraft in its fleet with an average age of 3.6 years, making it one of the world’s youngest fleets – the airline also has more than 150 additional new aircraft on order.
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IAG Take Over Plan

The owner of British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling is poised to make an arrogant and predatory bid for the rapidly growing Norwegian.

During the last week IAG confirmed its interest with an announcement on Thursday 12th April, it had secretly been buying up shares in Norwegian and had already amassed a 4.6% minority stake in the popular low-cost airline.  The aim of this "minority investment is intended to establish a position from which to initiate discussions with Norwegian, including the possibility of a full offer for Norwegian."  

The news took Norwegian by surprise, advising they "had no prior knowledge of this acquisition before it was reported by the media mid-morning Thursday.". Both IAG and Norwegian confirmed there had not been any discussions or dialogue between the two entities. While Norwegian seemed to indicate it was open to starting with negotiations by saying it believed IAG's interest "demonstrates the sustainability and potential" of its business model and global growth.

The IAG investment in Norwegian has increased slightly since the announcement on Thursday and would, according to may industry insiders, very much like to take out Norwegian from its list of competitors.  IAG's Willy Walsh has long been interested in turning a number of the group's airlines into low-cost operations, indeed British Airways already has started to adopt a more low-cost model on many services. IAG has already entered the long-haul low-cost market with the launch of budget brand Level from Barcelona and Paris, which is also expected to operate from London Gatwick after the purchase of some slots acquired after the demise of Monarch. It has been estimated that IAG will make a full take over bid for Norwegian in the week of 4th June.     

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