Budget Carrier Primera Air Adds More US-Europe Routes
Over the last few years, the transatlantic market has become saturated with low-cost carrier's like Norwegian, WOW and Level. Earlier this year, Primera Air became the newest player in town when it commenced operations with flights from the Northeastern US to London (STN) and Paris (CDG). After announcing flights to Brussels (BRU), Berlin (TXL) and Frankfurt (FRA) over the last few weeks, the carrier will add even more routes to its roster.
Primera plans on launching flights from Boston (BOS), Newark (EWR) and Toronto (YYZ) to Madrid (MAD) in Summer 2019. Daily flights from Newark will commence on July 16, 2019, and Boston will see 3-4 weekly flights starting August 16, 2019.
Note that the airline will be ending its service between Boston and Paris/London in October, and Newark and Paris/London in March 2019. By the end of summer 2019, Primera's transatlantic route map should look like this, which is pretty extensive for an airline that entered the market a little over a year before.
Primera will be primarily competing with full-service carriers like American Airlines and Iberia from the Oneworld alliance, and Delta and Air Europa of the SkyTeam alliance on its new Madrid routes. The airline will operate its new Boeing 737 MAX 9 on the route, of which it has 20 on order. Right now, Primera's fleet is composed of five new A321neos and 10 Boeing 7737-NGs.
Both the A321neo and MAX 9 are narrow-body aircraft with a 3-3 configuration in economy, although there is a premium economy section on the A321s with larger recliner seats.
These smaller aircraft aren't as spacious as wide-bodies but do allow carriers to operate flights at a much lower cost than traditional long-haul flights.
TPG's JT Genter reviewed Primera's inaugural flight, which was then operated by a National 757, and while his journey wasn't perfect, it still "demonstrated perfectly the power of the ultra-low-cost experience."
Primera isn't the bougiest experience but it does offer ridiculously cheap fares, especially considering they're usually nonstop flights between major airports — we've recently seen prices fall as low as $63 one-way or $199 round-trip. However, the base fares only include a small carry-on bag — you'll have to pay extra if you want to select a seat or have a meal on the flight. The airline says that fares from the US to Madrid will start at $149 one-way.