Norwegian Air Shuttle has announced it is to establish a new base in London at Gatwick Airport in spring 2013.
Gatwick is already Norwegian’s biggest non-Scandinavian destination with around 100 departures per week.
When the airline establishes its UK base at Gatwick next year, it will place three aircraft at the airport, increase the frequency of existing routes to Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki as well as introducing 14 new direct routes from London to the Mediterranean, including Nice and Rome.
Increasing the volume of flights to key routes will enable Norwegian to compete more vigorously for business traffic with airlines operating out of Heathrow and give passengers more flexibility to do a one day return business trip to a key Scandinavian destination from Gatwick.
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick Airport’s chief executive said: “We are delighted that Norwegian has chosen to grow its operations out of Gatwick by establishing its UK base here. Since Norwegian moved its Scandinavian routes from Stansted to Gatwick a few years ago we have worked hard to make that move a success.
“Their decision to establish their UK base at Gatwick demonstrates the strength of Gatwick’s offering to airlines.
Over the past three years Gatwick has been transformed into a world class airport focused on improving the passenger experience. We have spent over £650 million on new facilities.
From car parks, check in, security areas, through to the departures lounges, including award winning business traveller facilities, the airport has made the passenger experience more convenient, quick, pleasant and hassle-free.
With quick rail connections into where it matters in London, Gatwick is looking forward to supporting Norwegian’s growth at Gatwick and enable them to compete on short and long haul routes.
“By establishing a new base in London, Norwegian will be positioned to meet the future competition on short-haul routes within Europe as well as long-haul routes globally.
“Growth and volumes are necessary to stay competitive in the airline industry,” said chief executive Bjørn Kjos of Norwegian.