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IAG to do battle with Norwegian

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Airline group to join long-haul narrowbody craze
International Airlines Group, which owns British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueing, may buy more long-range narrowbody aircraft to open up more intercontinental routes where demand is insufficient to support bigger planes, news agency Bloomberg reports.
As IAG posted an 8.6% increase in full-year operating profit to €2.54 billion, chief executive Willie Walsh said the group had already ordered seven LR variants of the A321neo for transatlantic flights at Aer Lingus, and that a wider rollout could see the model deployed also at BA and Iberia.
The new planes would serve North America but could also open up new markets in sub-Saharan Africa, Walsh said, countering the fast growth of narrowbody fleets at rivals such as Norwegian.
“There’s an opportunity to consider quite a number of destinations that we wouldn’t believe possible with the wide-body larger aircraft,” he said.
Norwegian has just launched sales for flights from five locations in the UK and Ireland to three low-cost airports in New York state, Rhode Island and Connecticut, with fares starting from €69.
“Norwegian has a very small margin of profitability and the fares that they’ve launched are clearly just designed to get some headline media coverage,” Walsh said.
Bloomberg

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