Norwegian has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons recently as it managed to lose $210m in fuel hedges in 4Q 2018, it had to cancel all of its Caribbean routes in an attempt to cut costs, it had to cut its service between Paris Orly and New York and it had to announce a $353m rights issue to raise much needed funds....but it has not all been bad news.
Recently we've seen Norwegian cancel all its Caribbean routes, post a 4Q $210m loss in fuel hedges alone, refinance aircraft, sell aircraft and announce a rights issue to raise some much-needed cash...but now the airline has reverted to type and has announced two new routes across the Atlantic.
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Norwegian is the low-cost carrier whose growth has caught everyone by surprise, but the rapid expansion of its fleet and routes has come at the expense of profitability and, some would say, sound business practices. While the airline leads the way in keeping the costs of flying across the Atlantic as low as they are right now it has been hemorrhaging cash at a rate that most would agree is unsustainable....and Norwegian is finally taking steps to combat the financial issues it is facing.
Norwegian is probably my favorite airline that I've yet to fly as its existence is a major thorn in the side of the legacy carriers...especially those carriers that carry passengers across the Atlantic. I like that. I can't think of a time when air travel was a cheap as it is right now (you can fly across the Atlantic for $99 if you're flexible and can make do without most creature comforts) but the days of cheap flights depend on the survival of low-cost carriers and none is as important to cheap transatlantic fares as Norwegian.
Norwegian already offers free wi-fi on the majority of its short-haul routes and now the airline has announced that it has commenced the roll out of its wi-fi service on its 787-9 Dreamliners and on its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
Yesterday Norwegian announced that it will be taking on British Airways head-to-head on the London – Rio de Janeiro route (BA currently has a monopoly on this route) and today the low-cost carrier has announced that it will be refocusing two transatlantic routes in a further attempt to steal market share from the legacy carriers.
Now this is getting interesting. It's common knowledge that Norwegian is considered a thorn in the side of British Airways thanks to the low-cost carrier's routes across the Atlantic and its propensity for starting up routes from London on which BA previously had a monopoly (Austin, Buenos Aires etc..). It's also common knowledge that British Airways' parent company, IAG, is very interested in acquiring Norwegian and adding it to its stable of airlines (which already include Aer Lingus, BA, Iberia, Vueling and Level)....but Norwegian appears to be resisting all advances (thankfully!)
As the headline suggests, Norwegian has launched its "biggest ever" sale for flights to the from the UK & Ireland with headline one-way fares starting from £140 (from the UK) and €99 (from Ireland). Norwegian also says that, for the first time, its Premium Economy cabin is included in the sale with one-way fares starting at £415.
Norwegian has been making quite a few changes to its routes recently with new additions seemingly prevailing over cuts. The last major route news from Norwegian was towards the end of June when the airline confirmed that it would be offering a daily service between London and Buenos Aires and adding Tampa to its route network.