Norse Atlantic Airways:  A fledging Norwegian low-cost carrier

The coronavirus crisis severely obstructed air travel and pushed many airlines to the brink of cessation. Nonetheless, several brand-new airlines launched their operations in the face of the pandemic. One such airline born during the pandemic is Norse Atlantic Airways. It is a Norway-based low-cost airline that specializes in offering affordable transatlantic flights on the Europe-North American routes. Norse Atlantic Airways was set up in February 2021 by Bjorn Tore Larsen to crack the transatlantic market. Headquartered in Arendal, Norway, the carrier maintains its operating bases at Fort Lauderdale, London-Gatwick, New York JFK, and Oslo.

Norse Atlantic Airways is a fledging Norwegian LCC poised to make a promising initiative in the long-haul discount market. The 2-year-old upstart follows a low-cost low-long business model, promising precedent low fares for intercontinental flyers. The carrier shares the low-cost space with Norwegian Air Shuttle, the fourth-largest LCC in Europe.

The inception of Norse Atlantic Airways

Norse Atlantic Airways is the brainchild of Bjorn Tore Larsen, who founded the new airline to crack the transatlantic market. He wanted to fill the gap left by LCC Norwegian Air’s exit from transatlantic routes. The discount airline permanently suspended its flights on the long-haul budget travel market in January 2021 due to financial challenges exacerbated by the pandemic.

Norwegian’s departure from intercontinental flying created a void in the low-cost transatlantic segment. The startup Norse Atlantic Airways sought to bridge the gap by offering low-cost airfares across the Atlantic Ocean.

With big plans, Bjorn Otre Larsen established Norse Atlantic in February 2021 and announced it on March 15. The brand-new transatlantic budget airline obtained its AOC from Norwegian civil authorities in December 2021.

Norse Atlantic’s planned launch in December was rocky due to pandemic-induced travel restrictions. Subsequently, the carrier rescheduled its launch date to the summer of 2022 and decided to sell tickets three months before the inaugural flight.

The much-anticipated maiden flight of Norse Airlines took place from Oslo to New York on June 14, 2022. Then, the carrier gradually added flights from London Gatwick to Oslo and New York JFK on August 12. The launch of a new service from Berlin to New York, JFK, and Los Angeles followed it.

In a year, the young European low-cost carrier has emerged to serve 12 cities across Europe and the US. Norse Atlantic is poised to change the intercontinental flying game, ushering in a wave of competitive ticket pricing across the pond. The carrier’s arrival has introduced low-cost competition in the transoceanic market and benefitted passengers to some extent.

Transatlantic market

Transatlantic routes (between Europe and North America) are airlines’ most competitive and lucrative international routes. Global carriers compete to stay on top of the game by boosting transatlantic capacity to cash in on passengers’ appetite for travel. The high-fare legacy carriers have dominated this highly-competitive market for years and locked flyers in with exorbitant airfares.

Norse Atlantic seeks to firmly establish itself in the transoceanic market by delivering affordable and comfortable long-haul travel experiences. It aims to disrupt the segment by offering yield-destroying fares to customers. Customers who feel they’ve been grossly overcharged and gauged by mainline carriers can book Norse Atlantic flights. The carrier pledges to operate low-cost long-haul flights without compromising on quality.

While the pricing is important, it’s equally crucial for airlines to focus on passenger comfort. Given the long-haul nature of intercontinental flying, both affordability and convenience shape passenger travel. Although premium services aren’t possible in discount carriers, a minimum standard of comfort is expected. Norse Atlantic’s state-of-art Boeing 787 Dreamliners feature a passenger cabin comfortable enough to compete with legacy carriers. Economy seats offer 17 inches of width and generous 31 inches of pitch, which is on par for long-distance flying.

Norse Atlantic’s achievement in one year

  • More than half a million passengers have flown.
  • Extended international services to 12 destinations (across Europe and the US)
  • Operation of more than 2700 flights
  • Virtual interlining partnerships with easyJet, Norwegian Air Shuttle, and Spirit Airlines
  • The fleet size of 10 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (including Norse Atlantic UK)

Destinations served: Where does Norse Atlantic Airways fly?

Norse Airline’s route maps are dotted with point-to-point flights from its FLL, LGW, JFK, and OSL bases. The Arendal-based carrier operates low-cost, long-haul flights on the following routes:

From FLL base

From Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Norse Atlantic flies nonstop to

  • London Gatwick (LGW-bound flights are 8 hours 45 minutes long, and the return journey is 9 hours 35 minutes long)
  • Oslo (flight duration-9 hours; return journey, i.e., OSL-FLL, is 9 hours 55 minutes long)

(Note: The carrier will replace Fort Lauderdale with Miami as part of its winter route network. From September 18, Norse will serve Florida from Gatwick through Miami International Airport)

From LGW base

From London Gatwick (LGW), the Norwegian LCC flies nonstop to:

  • New York-JFK
  • Orlando
  • Washington-Dulles
  • Los Angeles
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • San Francisco

In the coming months, the carrier will expand its London Gatwick presence with direct flights to:

  • Miami (from September 18)
  • Boston (from September 2)
  • Barbados (from October 29)
  • Kingston-Norman Manley (from October 31)
  • Montego Bay (29 October)

Among all bases, Norse Atlantic serves the most destinations from London Gatwick.

From New York JFK base

Norse Atlantic uses its New York Kennedy base to operate long-haul flights to the following destinations:

  • Berlin
  • London-Gatwick
  • Oslo
  • Paris Charles de Gaulle
  • Rome-Fiumicino

From OSL base

The Norwegian low-cost, long-haul airline operates out of Oslo Airport to the following destinations:

  • Fort Lauderdale
  • New York JFK
  • Los Angeles

Norse Atlantic’s upcoming services from Oslo include flights to Miami (September 18) and Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi (November 2).

Future routes of Norse Atlantic Airways

As we can see, 2-year-old Norse Atlantic Airways is pushing on its expansion plans. The discount airline is set to add Boston and Miami to its list of US destinations in September.

The carrier will perform five weekly services on the London Gatwick-Boston route and four times weekly to Miami.

As a part of its expansion efforts, Norse Atlantic is adding seasonal flights to Barbados, Kingston, Montego Bay, and Bangkok. The budget airline will conduct the following:

  • Daily flights between London Gatwick and Barbados (ticket price starts at £ 449 return including taxes)
  • Three weekly flights between London Gatwick and Kingston-Norman Manley (ticket price starts at £ 579 return including taxes
  • Four weekly flights between London Gatwick and Montego Bay (ticket price starts at £ 559 return, including taxes)
  • Two weekly flights between Oslo and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi

Norse Airlines is entering the Asian market for the first time by providing direct flights to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi. As time passes, the carrier will penetrate further into Asia, extending its footprint to 3 continents, i.e., North America, Europe, and Asia.

Fleet of Norse Atlantic Airways

 Norse Atlantic operates a modern and environmentally compatible fleet of 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft (including its subsidiary). The carrier has 10 Boeing 787-9s available in two different seating versions.

The first seating version has 338 seats divided into 56 Premium and 282 Economy seats. Likewise, the next seating version has space for 344 passengers, including 35 Premium and 309 Economy Class.

Norse Atlantic has placed orders for two more Boeing 787-9s and 3 Boeing 787-8s. The twinjet Boeing 787-8 will have 291 seats, 32 for Premium and 259 for Economy customers.

Comparing B787-8 and B787-9, the latter has a slight edge over its brethren regarding seating capacity and fuel range. The lengthened and stretched B787-9 variant has an impressive range of 7,635nmi. The base model -8 pushes it closer with a range of 7,355 nmi.

Norse Atlantic passenger cabins

Norse Atlantic Airways allows its passengers to tailor travel to their needs by offering two cabin classes. The economy seats, which make much of the plane, are laid out in a 3 x 3 x 3 layout. Each seat is 17 inches wide, offers 31 inches of pitch, and has an adjustable headrest.

Those who seek elevated onboard experience can splurge on the carrier’s Premium Cabin. The spacious seats have an industry-leading 43” pitch and 12” recline. Despite being a long-haul flight, the relaxed and comfortable cabin allows customers to arrive at their destination refreshed and jetlag-less.

Customers flying onboard Norse Atlantic Airlines’ B787 aircraft can enjoy access to the following onboard amenities:

  • A small flatscreen TV for a personal state-of-art entertainment experience
  • A seat back pocket (where you can put some personal items)
  • A USB power port, etc.

Norse Atlantic UK-The British subsidiary of Norse Atlantic Airways

Norse Atlantic UK is a British subsidiary of Norse Atlantic Airways headquartered in Crawley, West Sussex, UK. It was established three months after the inception of its parent company on May 10, 2021, and commenced its operations on March 26, 2023. The carrier performs nonstop services between the UK and the US using its 6 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner jets fleet.

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