Norwegian announces U.S. expansion, including Chicago and Austin

Roshan Patel

A Norwegian Boeing 787 Dreamliner at London Gatwick Airport. The airline will be using these aircraft to expand their U.S. service starting next spring, adding Chicago and Austin to their network.

European low cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle announced Wednesday the addition of two new destinations to its ever-expanding U.S. network. The airline announced plans to begin service to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport from Norwegian’s hub at London’s Gatwick Airport starting in March of 2018.

Norwegian will offer flights four times a week to Chicago and three times a week to Austin. With fares beginning at $174 from ORD and $249 from AUS one-way, the airline opens an inexpensive passage for transatlantic travel from the major aviation gateway of Chicago, and the rapidly growing market in Austin.

Operated by the Boeing 787, these new routes will bring the airline’s total number of Dreamliner routes to 54, including routes that are still scheduled to begin. The airline intends to keep the United States their primary intercontinental market, however in recent months, Norwegian has announced expansion across four different continents, including South America. Layoverhub reported on Norwegian’s expansion in Argentina in June.

A Norwegian Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner at New York’s JFK Airport. Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons / Anna Zverena

Outside of the two new destinations, Norwegian also announced the addition of new links between cities they already serve. The airline has plans to expand its Paris network with new routes to Boston, Newark and Oakland as well as increase frequency to Los Angeles. And, the airline is currently in the middle of its transatlantic narrow body expansion, with 12 routes started in the last three weeks.

The rapid expansion of Norwegian is remarkable considering it only emerged as a European competitor in the past few years. “We are excited to add two more U.S. cities to our ever-growing network,” Bjørn Kjos, Norwegian’s CEO, said in a statement. “We will now offer nonstop service from 15 U.S. cities to 13 European cities, no other airline can rival that.”

Now, with more destinations and cheaper flights, major European and U.S. airlines will be forced to try even harder to retain and attract customers.

But from Norwegian’s perspective, the breadth of their network across the two regions shows the demand of passengers simply wanting to get from point to point rather than enjoy the luxuries of flying a mainline airline. As for the future, aviation seems to be exhibiting a trend toward exactly what Norwegian is providing: point to point inexepensive travel.

Featured photo by Steve Bates for Norwegian.