Norwegian's Adding Service to More New Cities… in Argentina?
Is Norwegian Air attempting to take over the world?
It may seem that way after the airline's spokesman announced on Friday that the low-cost carrier will open at least two bases in Buenos Aires and Cordoba, and possibly a third in Mendoza, to operate flights in Argentina.
The domestic routes would begin at the end of 2017 and could eventually be supplemented by international flights in and out of the country. Norwegian would be Argentina's first low-cost airline — the country is currently served by the state-owned Aerolineas Argentinas and LATAM (formerly LAN).
The move comes as the carrier recently received permission to operate international flights between the United States and Europe through its Irish-based subsidiary. Norwegian currently has four separate air operating certificates (AOC) — one in Ireland, one in the United Kingdom, and two in Norway — as opposed to one unified operating certificate which is typical of most airlines.
It's unclear how Norwegian will get approval to begin flights within Argentina, but the airline's head of communications Alfons Claver stated that it has "already taken some concrete steps to be able to fly cabotage and regional in Argentina." Earlier this month Avianca also requested approval to operate in Argentina for both domestic and international flights. Given the Argentinian government's desire to attract international investment, particularly in infrastructure, permission will likely come much faster than the three-year wait Norwegian endured for DOT approval on its first US routes.
Assuming the legal hurdles can be surmounted, Argentinians could expect to see drastic reductions in airfare as Norwegian is known for its jaw-dropping low prices. Recent deal alerts here at TPG included New York to London for $276 roundtrip on the carrier, along with JFK to Stockholm for $192 and northeastern US cities to the Caribbean from $178.
The airline has been on an expansion tear, with plans just within the last two weeks to extend its international flights to Providence and Newburgh in New York, coming on top of September's announcement of flights from Barcelona to New York/Newark, Los Angeles, Ft. Lauderdale, and Oakland.
TPG flew in Norwegian's 787 premium economy cabin earlier this year and was impressed. We've also reviewed the standard economy experience and deemed it "very solid and better than expected," so you may want to take a look at Norwegian Air if you have upcoming international travel.