Going to Europe has never been cheaper. It has, however, been more convenient.
Norwegian, the discount airline that was the first to offer transatlantic fares below $100, announced Thursday it will be offering even cheaper tickets this summer, starting at just $65, including taxes (one-way, of course).
The downside? You’ll have to leave from Providence, Rhode Island, Hartford, Conn., or the equally hard-to-reach Stewart International Airport north of New York City. And you’ll arrive in regional airports in the U.K. or, at best, Shannon Airport in Dublin. If you want to see the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum or Big Ben, you’ll have to work it out from there for yourself.
All the same, the new record-low fares are another big coup for an airline that, together with Icelandic rival Wow Air, has carved out a niche for itself in rolling out the low-cost model to long-distance flights. It carried 30 million passengers in 2016 and now has a fleet of 120 aircraft, most of which are new and highly fuel-efficient.
“Our new, non-stop service will enable tens of thousands of new travelers to fly between the continents much more comfortably and affordably,” CEO Bjørn Kjos said in a statement.
The new routes will open in early July and run through the summer tourism season, ending in October. They’ll be operated by Norwegian’s Irish subsidiary. They will predominantly use U.S.-based crew from two new crew bases, as well as crew from a new Edinburgh base in the U.K.. It said the routes will create 150 jobs, in what looked like an effort to head off political lobbying against it in the U.S. by established carriers.
Norwegian will be the exploiting the fact that it’s the first European airliner to get its hands on Boeing’s 737-MAX, a state-of-the-art new aircraft, which offers a longer range and greater seat capacity than existing single-aisle aircraft. Analysts say the modified short-haul aircraft can be up to 13% cheaper to operate, according to The Wall Street Journal.