Norwegian Adds Another Florida Destination, Makes Seasonal Schedule Changes
The ever-growing low-cost carrier Norwegian Air is expanding yet again — this time, in Florida. Norwegian announced on Monday that it's set to launch new transatlantic service from Tampa International Airport (TPA) to London Gatwick (LGW).
Beginning October 31, 2018, Norwegian will launch 2x weekly service to LGW — on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The routes will be operated by Norwegian's 787-9 Dreamliners, which, until this point have plagued the carrier's long-haul network with ongoing engine issues. For launch of the TPA-LGW route, prices start at $215 one-way in economy and $605 one-way in Premium.
Along with the announcement of the addition of TPA to its route network, Norwegian also announced route modifications to its existing service in Florida. Tampa joins Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Orlando (MCO) as the two other Florida airports that Norwegian already serves. For the winter season, Norwegian will increase its frequencies from both FLL and MCO to London.
Fort Lauderdale will get daily nonstop service to London this winter, as compared to 3x weekly service last winter. Orlando will get 5x weekly service to London, as compared to 3x weekly service last winter.
In addition to Florida-specific changes, Norwegian also announced on Monday that it's making some frequency changes to certain other routes to London for the winter season.
- Boston (BOS) to London (LGW) — Increase to daily service compared to 5x weekly last winter
- Las Vegas (LAS) to London (LGW) — Increase to 3x weekly flights compared to 2x weekly last winter
- Chicago (ORD) to London (LGW) — Will operated 5x weekly service. (This is the first winter season for the route.)
- Oakland (OAK) to London (LGW) — Decrease to 3x weekly service compared to 4x weekly service last winter
- Austin (AUS) to London (LGW) — Will become a summer-only seasonal route, with the last light departing on October 27, 2018, and resuming in March 2019
- Seattle (SEA) to London (LGW) — Will become a summer-only seasonal route, with the last flight departing October 31, 2018, and resuming in March 2019.
It's interesting to see as Norwegian continues to expand, despite its financial struggles and offers for buyout. The carrier reported a net loss of €30.8 million in 2017, compared to a €116 million profit in 2016. The loss was driven by significant costs associated with hiring in its expansion, as well as rising fuel costs. It’s also struggling to uphold its fleet. Though it does operate new 787 Dreamliners and 737 MAX aircraft, the ongoing issues with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine have forced the carrier to lease aircraft from other operators while its Dreamliners undergo repair.
International Airlines Group, which is the parent company of British Airways, Aer Lingus and others, reportedly made three offers to purchase the airline. Norwegian publicly declined two offers. Most recently, it was reported that Lufthansa was also interested in purchasing Norwegian. For full-service carriers like Lufthansa and IAG’s airlines, there’s plenty of value to be had from acquiring Norwegian — namely one less competitor.