PhotoPlanning a European trip? If you can wait til next summer, you may be able to save a lot of money. A new budget air carrier -- Norwegian -- starts service between London's Gatwick and New York, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale in July 2014.

A one-way ticket between London and NYC will start at £149, currently US$220, with similar fares to Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale. The basic face includes seatback entertainment but if you want meals, reserved seating and checked bags, it will cost you another £30 (US$48).

The Scandanavian carrier will be flying Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner, which is much more fuel-efficient than similar-sized airplanes, a difference Norwegian thinks will enable it to operate profitably even at cut-rate fares.

“There’s great demand for high quality flights at a low fare between the UK and the U.S., particularly to and from London Gatwick, where no other airline currently offers these routes. We are looking forward to welcoming many new customers on board our brand new aircraft. Launching long-haul routes between London Gatwick and the United States is also an important part of our strategy to expand internationally and get a stronger foothold in markets outside Scandinavia,” said Norwegian’s CEO Bjørn Kjos. 

Norwegian, the third-largest discount carrier in Europe, currently offers 320 weekly flights and 25 routes from London Gatwick.

Will it work?

PhotoHistory, of course, is littered with the bones of budget airlines that thought they could make money offering cheap trans-Atlantic fares, Laker Airways being perhaps the most notorious.

Europe's leading low-fare carrier, Ryanair, has so far resisted the temptation to apply its short-haul model to longer routes. Whether Norwegian's move pressures it to do so remains to be seen.

For awhile there, Gatwick was shaping up as a major trans-Atlantic portal but both British and Virgin Atlantic dropped their Gatwick-NYC routes, saying they couldn't turn a profit on them.

Gatwick changed hands a few years ago and has been aggressively courting new business. The airport's CEO, Stewart Wingate, says Norwegian's plans will be a "significant industry game-changer."

"Norwegian's decision to re-establish London Gatwick's links to strategic destinations in North America gives passengers, once again, real choice about how to get there and, importantly, provide options for affordable travel to popular business and leisure destinations."

Ticket info

Tickets to the new destinations will be available for sale today (October 17) at www.norwegian.com.

Flight schedule

London – Los Angeles twice a week from July 2, 2014
Norwegian will operate two weekly flights between London (LGW) and Los Angeles (LAX) – on Wednesdays and Sundays. The introductory fare is £199 one way.

London – New York three times a week from July 3, 2014 
Norwegian will operate three weekly flights between London (LGW) and New York (JFK) – on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The introductory fare is £149 one way.

London – Fort Lauderdale twice a week from July 4, 2014 
Norwegian will operate two weekly flights between London (LGW) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – on Mondays and Fridays. The introductory fare is £179 one way.

London – Santorini once a week from April 5, 2014 
Norwegian will operate one weekly flight between London (LGW) and Santorini (JTR) – on Saturdays. The introductory fare is £29.90 one way.

London – Corfu once a week from July 19, 2014 
Norwegian will operate one weekly flight between London (LGW) and Corfu (CFU) – on Saturdays. The introductory fare is £29.90 one way.

London – Sicily once a week from April 5, 2014
Norwegian will operate one weekly flight between London (LGW) and Catania, Sicily (CTA) – on Saturdays. The introductory fare is £29.90 one way.

London – Cyprus once a week from April 5, 2014
Norwegian will operate one weekly flight between London (LGW) and Cyprus (LCA) – on Saturdays. The introductory fare is £39.90 one way.

London – Budapest three times a week from March 30, 2014
Norwegian will operate three weekly flights between London (LGW) and Budapest (BUD) – on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The introductory fare is £29.90 one way.

 


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