Thursday, February 25, 2010

Norwegian Air Shuttle: No long-haul flights in 2010

Norwegian Air Shuttle announced late last year that they planned to extend their services even further beyond their current destinations. Non-stop flights to Bangkok and New York would start in 2010 and direct services to destinations as Beijing, Shanghai, New Delhi, and Miami would be considered the coming years. Two months later it seems that Norwegian Air Shuttle have put their plans on hold - at least until 2011.

The airline had gone as far as to get slots at Oslo Airport for their two new destinations from March 2010. They planned to fly to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York with an Airbus A330 carrying up to 300 passengers.

Currently there is only one non-stop flight to New York from Oslo run by Continental. The current non-stop service is one of Continental's most profitable flights, and the US air carrier is planning to extend its activity to two flights, three times a week this summer.

Feel Air, a new budget air carrier is also planning flights to the Big Apple this year.

US Airways is also flying non-stop from Oslo to Philadelphia from April to October.

Besides Norwegian Air Shuttle, Feel Air is even planning budget flights from Oslo to Bangkok, in competition with Thai Airways, that started flights from Oslo five days a week last year.

Maybe it would be a better idea for Norwegian Air Shuttle to look for other destinations where they may fly non-stop without the competition from other major players.

Flying non-stop to China or India would open up a completely new market for the wealthy Norwegian traveler, in constant quest for new, interesting experiences.

Norwegian Air Shuttle emphasize that their plans are postponed, not cancelled. They even imply that flights may start in 2010, and that their planes to New York and Bangkok most certainly will take off in 2011. It will be interesting to see what will happen to ambitions of high-flying air carriers as Norwegian in the current financial turmoil ahead of us.

(Photos: Arpingstone and Charlie Fong)

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