Norwegian route restart may indicate demand for air travel in Europe is coming back
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
On Wednesday, low-cost carrier Norwegian announced plans to reintroduce short-haul flying outside of Norway as of July 1 — at least eight months earlier than originally planned. That is a hopeful sign demand for air travel may be returning in Europe faster than airlines had anticipated during the height of the coronavirus crisis.
Norwegian, the third-largest low-cost airline in Europe after Ryanair and EasyJet, will restart key routes to and from the U.K. airports of London Gatwick (LGW) and Edinburgh (EDI).
Beginning July 1, Norwegian will operate flights from Gatwick to Oslo (OSL) seven times per week and to Copenhagen (CPH) six times per week.In Scotland, Edinburgh will see two return flights per week to both Oslo and Copenhagen.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
In April, Norwegian announced a grim outlook. The airline said that it planned to keep its European short-haul operations and long-haul operations grounded until at least April 2021. The restart of some flights announced on Wednesday does not include long-haul flights, which remain on hold until at least April 2021.
Wednesday’s decision to increase the number of short-haul routes has come due to increased customer demand across Europe.
“Feedback from our customers has shown that they are keen to get back in the air and resume their travels with Norwegian beyond the current domestic services that we have been operating,” Norwegian CEO Jacob Schram said in a statement.
As of July 1, a total of 12 Norwegian aircraft will be returning to the skies, joining the eight that have remained in service to operate 13 domestic routes in Norway.
The airline has introduced enhanced safety measures to protect the health of passengers and crew including the mandatory wearing of face masks for passengers over the age of six. To help with social distancing, passengers will be asked to keep as far apart as possible during boarding and deplaning, and middle seats will be the last to be allocated. The airline is also advising passengers to place their hand luggage under the seat in front to reduce time in the aisle while boarding, and there will be no catering on board to minimize contact between passengers and crew.
As of July, Norwegian will operate a total of 76 routes from its hubs across Scandinavia to popular destinations across Europe including Spain and Greece.
The move is a huge boost for London Gatwick Airport. During the peak of the pandemic, the airport had seen several of its largest carriers pull service. EasyJet completely grounded its operations from the airport and British Airways closed its base, as did Virgin Atlantic.
While the airport has reopened its North Terminal, it will still struggle to return to full operation while major operators like BA and Virgin remain totally committed to Heathrow.
Elsewhere in European aviation, Ryanair will be making a comeback as of July 1, as will British Airways, which is planning to fly a total of 29 long-haul routes in the same month. EasyJet has already recommenced some scheduled domestic flights within the U.K. as of June 15.
Featured image by Francis Dean/Getty Images
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.