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Norwegian to expand to Detroit, Minneapolis and Philadelphia in 2020?

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Earlier this week, low-cost-carrier Norwegian's CEO Bjorn Kjos outlined the airline's UK expansion plans and gave several hints at future US expansion plans.

Mr. Kjos stated that Norwegian would take delivery of eight new Airbus A321neo LR aircraft in 2019. The A321neo LR will be Norwegian’s first Airbus aircraft to fly in its fleet and plans are underway to use these aircraft from London Gatwick (LGW) to the US East Coast and Midwest. Cities such as Detroit, Philadelphia and Minneapolis are examples of destinations that could be served. Norwegian will also consider routes to the Middle East using the Airbus A321neo LR.

While Norwegian has no definite plans on where it will use the new A321neo LR aircraft, I found it incredibly interesting that Mr. Kjos mentioned specific cities for possible expansion. I think Detroit, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia are ripe for more competition.


Competitive analysis

Detroit (DTW) – Delta Air Lines hub with a nonstop route to London Heathrow (LHR). No current competition on the low-cost-carrier side, but WOW air is expanding to DTW in April.

Minneapolis (MSP)Delta Air Lines hub with nonstop routes to London Heathrow (LHR). Low-cost-carriers are Icelandair with limited service from Condor.

Philadelphia (PHL) – American Airlines hub with nonstop routes to London Heathrow (LHR). Delta and British Airways also provide nonstop service to London. Only low-cost-carrier is Icelandair.

Detroit and Minneapolis have long been Delta strongholds and nonstop transatlantic competition from Norwegian would come as a welcomed relief for residents of Michigan and Minnesota. While both cities have at least one low-cost-carrier, there is no competition for nonstop routes to London.


Bottom Line

So why mention the expansion cities? Is Norwegian currently in talks to expand to these airports or is this a ploy to keep WOW air and Icelandair from expanding to those cities? Only time will tell and we should hear more on Norwegian's specific expansion plans in 2019. Until then, I'll secretly hold out hope that MSP (my local airport), gets a little Norwegian love in 2020.


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4 Responses

  • There are two low cost carriers to Europe out of MSP. Not just Icelandair. Condor Airlines is a low-cost-carrier out of MSP during the spring and summer months and provides great lows fares all over Europe. Excellent service, non-stops to Frankfurt where they code share with Lufthansa and Air Berlin for connections. Modern aircraft, business class for the price of coach on Delta. Condor has 3-4 flights a week MSP-FRA-MSP. Non-stop to FRA and the connect all across Europe. Flew them twice last summer, excellent value. Great service. They fly out of Terminal 2.

    • You’re definitely right Anthony. I forgot about the limited service Condor provides. Although they bill it has low cost, their flights aren’t exactly cheap, especially compared with all the flash sales to Europe on the legacy carriers lately. Added it to the post. How full were your flights?

  • Non-stop to the heart of Germany 4x week May-Sept. Tu, Th, Fri, Sun. 767 wide body with economy, premium economy and business class. I don’t think of that as limited. (yes I am a Condor fan). This seasons flights might not be on sale yet, but they are cheap. I flew last May long weekend to Berlin in premium econ for $600 r/t. August MSP-TXL return PRG-MSP for $1200 business class r/t. May flight I’d guess 80% full. August flights 95-100% full. Nice staff. Easy to fly. Great code-share with Air Berlin and Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn if you prefer rail connections right from Frankfurt Main airport terminal. Flash sale on a legacy carrier, no thanks. Non-stop from MSP right into Europe, best way to go. Icelandair 1st choice, Condor, strong second. Delta thru a U.S. hub, no thanks.

  • Definitely think Detroit is a possible expansion destination, live in the area around DTW and have seen a Norwegian aircraft fly overhead, that’s why I looked up this article

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