Norwegian vows fares war in countdown to Edinburgh-US routes launch

Norwegian hopes to start a fares war with other carriers when it launches flights between Edinburgh and US cities in June for an average of �200 return.

Norwegian hopes to start a fares war with other carriers when it launches flights between Edinburgh and US cities in June for an average of �200 return.

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Budget airline Norwegian hopes to start a transatlantic fares war with new flights from Edinburgh as it announced more than 130 jobs in the capital.

Return flights will average around £200 - a fraction of that charged by the three airlines which already fly between the city and New York.

The airline said it expected to launch services in June using brand-new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

It will announce the routes by early next month, but chief executive Bjorn Kjos said last May they would “definitely” include Boston.

New York is also expected to be among destinations, although the airline said it was considering using smaller airports outside both cities.

These could include Stewart airport, 70 miles north of New York City, and TF Green airport, in Rhode Island, south of Boston.

It currently flies to JFK in New York from Gatwick.

Norwegian said reported one-way fares as low as £56 ($69) would only be available for flights from the US to Edinburgh.

US-bound one-way tickets will be higher because of the air passenger duty - £73, rising to £75 in April - on such flights leaving the UK.

However, a £200 average return fare is far less than those charged by American, Delta and United on the Edinburgh-New York route.

Edinburgh Airport chief commercial officer John Watson told The Scotsman last year that Delta joining the competition last summer meant typical return fares of £800 being halved.

A Norwegian source said: “We are hoping to increase competition and lower fares across the board.”

The airline is likely to prove cheaper even though passengers will have to pay for hold luggage and food and drink, along with potentially higher transport charges if remoter airports are used.

The new jobs comprise at least 100 cabin crew and 30 pilots in Edinburgh, where Norwegian already flies six European routes.

Chief commercial officer Thomas Ramdahl said: “Edinburgh is a central part of our UK growth plans, and together with new aircraft and new flights, we are also creating new jobs in Scotland.

An Edinburgh Airport spokeswoman said: “We look forward to any announcement regarding new routes and the creation of new jobs.”

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