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A Norwegian 787-9 in Las Vegas. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Norwegian Awarded Six Weekly Slots at London Heathrow

European low-cost carrier Norwegian has been awarded six weekly slots at London Heathrow out of the 14 requested by the airline beginning in summer 2020. The Oslo-based carrier already operates extensively from London Gatwick airport to 30 destinations throughout Europe, North America and South America.

The new slots reported by Airport Coordination Limited will allow Norwegian to operate three round trip flights from Britain’s busiest airport. Heathrow has some of the most valuable slots in the world which have numerous benefits of conveniently serving a global financial hub like London. By serving Heathrow, Norwegian might be looking at gaining access to more profitable markets with higher corporate traffic.

However, with limitations to operate just three round trip flights from the major London airport, it is unknown whether added revenue will offset the complexities of operating a limited amount of frequencies from an additional airport. At the same time, having such a limited number of slots will hinder the ability to serve time-sensitive flyers who have less flexibility but provide significantly higher revenue for the airline.

In a statement, the carrier said: “Norwegian has confirmed that the airline has been granted six slots, three take-off and three landing at London Heathrow. We have a strong track record of disrupting incumbent carriers and alliances by offering low fares and award-winning service on specific routes and destinations that were previously operated as monopolies”.

The Oslo-based carrier already flies to 30 destinations out of Gatwick through its Norwegian U.K. subsidiary, serving 11 North American and two South American destinations.

According to Business Insider, Norwegian is undergoing a $241 million cost-savings program that aims to drop unprofitable routes and place its efforts on those that provide better returns for the company.  Along this line, the airline has recently announced it will be dropping long haul flights from Scandinavia, including flights from Stockholm to Los Angeles and Bangkok as well as from Oslo to Boston, Miami, New York-JFK and Bangkok.

Focusing on more lucrative markets, the airline will increase flights from London Gatwick to San Francisco, Austin, Denver and Tampa, in addition to launching flights from Paris to Austin and Denver and from Rome to Chicago.

This strategic shift may also see the airline divesting from business units that are not providing expected results. Last week, AirlineGeeks reported that Norwegian’s Argentinean subsidiary which serves five domestic destinations from Buenos Aires Aeroparque is not selling tickets beyond March 28, 2020. Although there has not been official information on the rationale behind; Geir Karlsen, Norwegian’s chief financial officer had previously commented that they were prepared to leave Argentina’s domestic markets if financials were not favorable. Additionally, sources indicate Indigo partners owned JetSmart Argentina is interested in purchasing Norwegian’s subsidiary in the country.

Jose Antonio Payet
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