Norwegian eyes more expansion to see off rising competition as passenger numbers pick up in November

 
Rebecca Smith
Norwegian said demand was stable
Norwegian said demand was stable (Source: Getty)

Low-cost airline Norwegian said today that passenger numbers rose 11 per cent last month, as boss Bjorn Kjos eyes greater expansion to see off growing competition.

The airline carried 2.5m passengers in November compared to the same time last year, while its long-haul routes recorded 52 per cent growth. Load factor however, which notes how full a carrier's planes are, dipped slightly from 84 per cent in November 2016 to 83.7 per cent for last month.

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Norwegian has unveiled more long-haul routes over the past year, launching Singapore flights from London in September, and the airline is eyeing Asia as a key focus for future growth.

The airline has also introduced 32 new aircraft to its fleet during 2017, and today, Norwegian chief executive Kjos signalled that greater expansion is on the cards.

He said:

We are pleased that more passengers are choosing to fly with Norwegian. The demand is stable and the growth is highest on our intercontinental routes.

Global expansion is important to position ourselves in a market with such strong competition, but also for creating economic value in the markets we operate.

The airline has already ramped up expansion at pace in the US market, adding a raft of new routes from Europe to America.

IAG meanwhile, has looked to fight back with the launch of its low-cost, long-haul airline Level.

The Barcelona-based carrier announced its own expansion plans last month, with IAG picking Paris Orly Airport as its second European base.

The relentless expansion of low-cost carriers has also fuelled intensifying airport competition in Europe, according to Airports Council International (ACI) Europe.

ACI Europe said that over the past 10 years, 99 per cent of the growth in passenger traffic of the top 20 European airports has been delivered by low-cost carriers.

The airport body said that this summer, Europe airports saw 87 long-haul routes being operated by low-cost carriers - up from just 14 four years ago.

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