A new Nordic based airline plans to revolutionise transatlantic travel.
Using next generation aircraft, it aims to introduce low cost long haul flights for all.
If this all sounds very familiar, that it’s because it is. Norse Atlantic plans to repeat the low cost long model adopted by Norwegian.
Norse Atlantic Follows Norwegian’s Path
It was a little under ten years ago that Norwegian’s charismatic and ebullient co-founder Bjørn Kjos – now an investor in Norse Atlantic – announced plans for low cost long haul flights.
It would soon become the third largest airline at Gatwick and usurped BA as the largest international airline at New York JFK.
This was all brought to an abrupt end at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But this was not the cause. Norwegian was struggling long before COVID-19. Fuelled by debt it expanded far too quickly and was heavily loss making. Attempts to reign in its rapacious expansion were too little, too late.
With Norwegian having retrenched to a short haul only airline, Norse Atlantic Airways plans to start with a clean state.
The airline has leased a fleet of 12 Boeing 787-9 and 3 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft. Its first flights at Oslo launch from 14 June.
Norse Atlantic’s First Gatwick Routes
Norse Atlantic will fly from London Gatwick to New York JFK daily from Friday 12 August 2022.
Norse Atlantic will also fly daily to Oslo, also with a Boeing 787-9 aircraft, for the summer season only. It is not offering interline connections to long haul flights at Oslo, which would involve significant backtracking in any event.
Flights are on sale now at Flynorse.com
Norse Atlantic’s Cabins & Fares
Like Norwegian, Norse Atlantic offers two classes of travel, economy and premium.
Each will offer three tiers of fares, Light, Classic and Plus. Seat back in flight entertainment is available to all passengers.
The outbound lead in fares are £160 and £300 one way for economy and premium respectively.
There are a wide range of additional charges, where these are not included in the original fare. These include:
- carry on and checked luggage from £21 up to £137 for a heavy checked bag
- seat selection from £17 up to £81 for an exit row seat
- first & second meal services – £17
- airport check in – £9
- priority check in – £17
- priority boarding – £13
Will Norse Atlantic Succeed?
Norse Atlantic has no doubt learned the lessons of Norwegian’s failure.
It claims to have leased aircraft at very competitive rates. It will hopefully not suffer some of Norwegian’s operational problems which forced it to wet lease aircraft from other airlines.
There remains the question of whether the low cost long haul business model can work.
Low cost airlines revolutionised short haul travel by stripping out “frills” to focus on what passengers value most and maximising aircraft utilisation. This is harder to replicate on long haul.
It seems implausible that a passenger buying an “Economy Light” fare which entitles them to nothing more than a small item of carry on luggage would not ultimately buy many additional extras, at a total cost comparable to flying on a rival airline.
Norse Atlantic will compete against the three major transatlantic joint businesses which already offer competitive economy fares. They also have better frequencies for business travellers and the assurance of alternative flights in the event of cancellations. These also have the significant revenue benefit of business and First Class cabins.
Norwegian’s experiment with low cost long haul came at a cost. Shareholders, suppliers, employees and customers all lost significant sums of money. It is hoped this is not repeated with Norse Atlantic.