Norwegian lands London Gatwick slots as it plans further UK expansion

 
Rebecca Smith
Norwegian has been accelerating growth plans
Norwegian has been accelerating growth plans (Source: Norwegian)

Norwegian said today it had picked up an extra 28 weekly slots at London Gatwick Airport as it plots greater expansion in the UK.

The airline said it will utilise the take-off and landing slots, purchased from Small Planet Airlines, from summer next year.

Norwegian currently flies over 4.6m passengers a year to over 30 destinations from the London airport, and has been focusing on boosting its transatlantic operations, offering flights to nine US cities and Singapore.

Read more: Low-cost airline Norwegian plans more expansion as passenger numbers rise

More routes to Argentina, Chicago and Austin launch early next year, as the airline hurries to fight off competition.

Norwegian chief commercial officer Thomas Ramdahl said of the new slots:

London Gatwick is at the heart of our global growth ambitions so securing these crucial new slots will allow us to offer our passengers even more new routes, additional flights and affordable fares.

Together with the launch of new routes to Argentina, Chicago and Austin in 2018, gaining extra capacity at London Gatwick is another huge boost as we get ready for our biggest ever year in the UK.

The move comes after British Airways owner IAG upped its capacity at the airport with the acquisition of slots from collapsed airline Monarch last month.

IAG said the majority of the slots will be used by British Airways, though boss Willie Walsh said he is eyeing the UK for new low-cost, long-haul airline Level.

In November, it was announced Level would be setting up in Paris, marking its second European base since launching from Barcelona in June.

IAG has been aiming fend off the long-haul, discount push from the likes of Norwegian, while Air France has also unveiled a low-cost airline, Joon.

Norwegian's approach has been to propel forward with rapid expansion plans, though it has sought to reassure investors about potential growing pains, by saying in October that it expects to cut its unit costs next year.

Read more: British Airways owner snaps up Monarch Gatwick slots

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