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‘Norwegian UK’ Set to Take Off as Airline is Granted UK Air Operating License

Press release   •   Nov 13, 2015 11:00 EST

  • New ‘Norwegian UK’ subsidiary will open the door for further UK expansion and potential new routes to Asia, South America and South Africa

Norwegian, Europe’s third largest low-cost airline and the world's best long-haul low-cost airline, has today been granted a UK Operating License opening up bilateral traffic rights to a series of potential new markets including Asia, South America and South Africa as the airline continues its huge growth in the UK.

Norwegian has grown to become the third-largest airline at London's Gatwick Airport and also operates from Manchester, Birmingham, and Edinburgh. Over the last 12 months, Norwegian has flown 3.9 million UK passengers to 34 global destinations, including the UK’s only low-cost direct flights to America.

With new aircraft on order that will more than quadruple its current long-haul fleet, Norwegian is planning further expansion in key markets, particularly the UK. Norwegian has now obtained a UK Operating License following a detailed application process with the Civil Aviation Authority. The UK license will help Norwegian access bilateral traffic rights, opening the door to new UK routes to a series of potential new markets in the future including Asia, South America and South Africa.

Norwegian plans to begin operating under the new license as ‘Norwegian UK’ in the first quarter of 2016 and will be located at Gatwick where the airline already has ten aircraft and more than 400 crew and pilots based. Norwegian’s new routes and UK expansion plans are expected to help create several hundred jobs within Norwegian in the coming years, along with many more in the wider travel and tourism industry.

Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said: “The British market continues to play a major role in Norwegian’s growth. Securing a UK Operating License is great news and an important step to get a stronger foothold in the UK as we plan for further expansion, new routes and new jobs.”

Managing Director of Norwegian UK, Asgeir Nyseth said:“With nearly 4 million passengers in the UK over the last 12 months, passengers truly appreciate the quality and affordable travel we offer. We are changing the face of low-cost travel by offering free on-board WiFi, state-of-the-art new aircraft and the UK’s only direct low-cost flights to America. With the door now unlocked for new routes and further growth, we look forward to offering UK passengers a range of exciting new destinations in the future.”

News of the UK Operating Licence follows a series of recent route launches as Norwegian continues its huge UK growth. Earlier this month Norwegian launched its 5th transatlantic route from Gatwick with the UK’s only direct route to Puerto Rico offering passengers low-cost travel to the Caribbean for the first time. Also this month, two new routes were added at Birmingham Airport helping make Norwegian the fastest growing airline at Birmingham in 2015.

How Norwegian has grown in the UK:

-April 2013: Norwegian establishes its first UK base at London Gatwick. More than 400 long-haul and short-haul crew and pilots are now based at the airport

-July 2014: Norwegian introduces the UK’s first low-cost, long-haul flights to the U.S. Flights from Gatwick to New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale cost from £149

-Summer 2015: Norwegian sees its busiest ever summer in the UK with over one million passengers between June and September and over 500 flights per week to and from UK airports

-September 2015: in the 12 months from October 2014 to September 2015 a total of 3,931,803 passengers flew with Norwegian to and from UK airports

-October 2015 – in Norwegian’s third quarter results, the airline’s strongest growth in terms of passenger numbers was at Gatwick. Norwegian also announced an order for 19 new Dreamliner aircraft, the single largest order in Europe which will help quadruple Norwegian’s long-haul fleet

-November 2015: Norwegian launches the UK’s only direct route to Puerto Rico. The new route from Gatwick will offer UK passengers low-cost travel to the Caribbean for the first time

-November 2015: Further expansion at Birmingham and Edinburgh Airports with new flights to the Canary Islands. At Birmingham in particular, Norwegian has launched 5 new routes in less than a year making it one of the airport’s fastest growing airlines

-First Quarter 2016: ‘Norwegian UK’ expected to begin operating from existing Gatwick base

-May 2016: Boston will be added to Norwegian’s low-cost long-haul network, becoming the fifth US destination served from the UK

-2017: Norwegian will be the European launch customer of new generation Boeing 737 MAX8 aircraft making it possible to connect smaller cities in the UK with destinations in the U.S.

-For media enquiries please contact the UK press office on (+44) 020 3824 4890 /
- US press office: Anders Lindström, Director of Communications USA, +1 954.648.2989

-Images and footage are available for media to download at

Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Oslo, Norway, award-winning Norwegian Air Shuttle is the third largest low-cost carrier in Europe and the world’s seventh largest. Norwegian offers more nonstop European destinations from the United States than any other European airline with seamless connections across the continent. Norwegian offers 25 nonstop routes from the U.S. to London and Scandinavia, as well as six routes from the U.S. to the Caribbean. Onboard features include more legroom than most competitors and free in-flight Wi-Fi on short-haul routes. The airline carried 24 million passengers last year on the world’s most modern and eco-friendly fleet to its network that stretches across Europe into North Africa and the Middle East, as well as long-haul flights to the U.S. and Southeast Asia – a total of 439 routes to 132 destinations. Over 5,500 people in Scandinavia, Europe, Asia, and the U.S. work for Norwegian. Follow @Fly_Norwegian on Twitter, join the discussion on Facebook and keep up with our adventures on Instagram. For more information on Norwegian and its network, visit