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Norwegian to expand flights to US whatever happens


Carrier to double Dreamliner fleet if US approves subsidiary
Norwegian will double its long-haul fleet and order at least 17 Dreamliners if US regulators approve flights for its new Irish subsidiary, the carrier’s chief executive Bjørn Kjos says. But if approval doesn’t come, the airline will scrap its Boeing 787 order and increase US flights with existing aircraft.
Norwegian wants to expand its network to South America, South Asia and South Africa. But first approval is needed from the US Department of Transportation, so that planes can first land in the US and fly from there.
Opposition from US airlines and unions have so far slowed Norwegian’s ambitions. Kjos says he expects US backing eventually and rules out legal action. He says that US airlines fear Norwegian’s low fares, but he says that if its application is blocked the carrier will ramp up flights anyway.
“If we don’t get [approval] we’ll fly everything into the US. It works exactly the opposite for our competitors,” he said. The rising Norwegian kroner against the US dollar has made staffing costs lower, he said. “It’s easy to compete.”


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