Norwegian Launching US to Rome Flights, Hints at More Expansion
The Norwegian Air expansion continues — this time, from the US to a new city in Europe. The low-cost carrier announced today that it's set to launch service from Newark (EWR), Los Angeles (LAX) and Oakland (OAK) to Rome (FCO). The three new routes are set to begin later this year (or into 2018 in the case of OAK).
The new Rome routes will be serviced by Norwegian's 787 Dreamliner, which features an economy class and a Premium class. "Rome is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and a favorite among Americans, so it was an obvious choice for us as we continue to expand our transatlantic presence," said Thomas Ramdahl, Norwegian’s Chief Commercial Officer. The carrier is leaving its options open for more routes between the US and Italy. Ramdahl told TPG that the carrier is also looking at Milan (MXP) as a potential new destination.
Here's how each of the new Rome routes breaks down:
- Newark (EWR) to Rome (FCO) — Launching on November 9, 2017, with 4x weekly service (Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays). In early February 2018, that frequency will increase to 6x weekly service (adding Tuesdays and Wednesdays). Fares start at $189 one-way in economy and $539 one-way in Premium.
- Newark (EWR) 11:00pm Departure ⇒ Rome (FCO) 1:05pm (+1) Arrival
- Rome (FCO) 5:25pm Departure ⇒ Newark (EWR) 9:00pm Arrival
- Los Angeles (LAX) to Rome (FCO) — Launching on November 11, 2017, with 2x weekly service (Tuesdays and Saturdays). In February, that will route will increase in frequency to 3x weekly service. Fares start at $229 one-way in economy and $719 one-way in Premium.
- Los Angeles (LAX) 6:30pm Departure ⇒ Rome (FCO) 3:20pm (+1) Arrival on Saturdays; LAX 9:15pm Departure ⇒ FCO 6:05pm (+1) Arrival on Tuesdays
- Rome (FCO) 3:10pm Departure ⇒ Los Angeles (LAX) 7:10pm Arrival
- Oakland (OAK) to Rome (FCO) — Launching on February 6, 2018, with 2x weekly service (Tuesdays and Fridays). Fares start at $229 one-way in economy and $719 one-way in Premium.
- Oakland (OAK) 6:20pm Departure ⇒ Rome (FCO) 3:00pm (+1) Arrival on Tuesdays; OAK 4:30pm Departure ⇒ FCO 1:10pm (+1) Arrival on Fridays
- Rome (FCO) 10:55am Departure ⇒ Oakland (OAK) 2:30pm Arrival
Including the new Rome routes, Norwegian will soon offer long-haul transatlantic service to seven European destinations from the US — Paris (ORY), Barcelona (BCN), London (LGW), Stockholm (ARN), Oslo (OSL) and Copenhagen (CPH). The new OAK-FCO route is the Bay Area's first nonstop service to The Eternal City.
In addition to these new Rome routes, Norwegian is also announcing new routes to the French Caribbean. Beginning this October, the low-cost carrier will begin service from Providence (PVD) to Guadeloupe (PTP) and Martinique (FDF). Plus, it's also increasing service to the French Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale (FLL), with 3x weekly flights to Guadeloupe (PTP) and a new route from FLL to Martinique (FDF) with 2x weekly service. Fares start at $79 one-way.
Hints of More Expansion Coming Soon
Ramdahl told TPG that the carrier isn't stopping its expansion with these new routes. He said that while cities that Norwegian has in mind are always changing, the carrier is keeping Madrid (MAD), Budapest (BUD), Prague (PRG), Milan (MXP) and Amsterdam (AMS) on the table as options. Ramdahl also said that the carrier wants to enter the transatlantic market for some German cities, such as Dusseldorf (DUS), Munich (MUC) and Berlin (SXF).
And as for new cities here at home, there's potentially good news for travelers looking for low-cost airfare. Ramdahl said that Norwegian is looking at beginning service from Chicago to London, and then expanding to more cities around Europe, such as Paris. He added that Washington, D.C., and New Orleans are also on the carrier's radar.
Most recently before this Rome news, Norwegian announced that it's set to begin 12 more transatlantic flights from some smaller East Coast cities (Providence [PVD], Newburgh [SWF] and Hartford [BDL]) with its new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Ramdahl said that the booking response has been the best in Newburgh (SWF), most likely because of the population and the fact that it's not too far from Manhattan. He also said that bookings from Providence (PVD) are picking up — these $210 round-trip fares to Europe for a Memorial Day sale probably helped.
In addition to the service from those non-capital cities to other, smaller destinations throughout Europe, Ramdahl also shared additional smaller cities that the carrier is thinking about servicing. He said the carrier will try to get a feel for the range of its new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on the existing transatlantic routes, but it wants to try and stretch that. For example, Norwegian is looking at Philadelphia (PHL) and Buffalo (BUF) as potential options. The BUF choice is particularly interesting, as it'll also serve the nearby Toronto market. Norwegian doesn't currently serve any Canadian cities, and Ramdahl said that part of the reason is that Toronto (YYZ) is very expensive to fly into, but BUF is cheap so it's looking to potentially capitalize on both markets.
Overall, these latest confirmed routes from LA, Oakland and Newark to Rome are great news for travelers who are looking to get to the city for a lower cost than what you'll typically find with the legacy carriers. Keep in mind, however, that Norwegian is a low-cost carrier, meaning you'll be charged for things you might be used to getting for free. But, it's a comfortable product — both in the economy cabin and in Premium.