Norwegian Air has overtaken British Airways, and is now the biggest non-US airline on transatlantic routes to and from the New York area, in the latest illustration of the low cost carrier’s move into BA territory.
Norwegian Air carried 1.67 million passengers to or from airports in the New York area in the 12 months to the end of July. This, in comparison with 1.63 million carried by British Airways, data from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey showed.
Norwegian Air has rapidly expanded in the transatlantic market over the last five years, prompting the owner of British Airways, IAG, to try to buy it earlier this year.
The data showed four US airlines, led by United, are the biggest carriers of international passengers out of the main airports in the New York area, which include John F Kennedy International, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International.
Air Canada is the biggest non-US carrier of international passengers, but its dominance is on travel between the United States and Canada. Norwegian, and other relatively recent entrants to the market such as Wow Air, have led a charge to shake up Europe’s long-haul flight market.
The airlines are offering ticket prices that can be as little as half those charged by traditional carriers and Lufthansa has also started budget.
Norwegian said in May it had rejected two approaches from IAG, which also owns the Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling airlines, because they undervalued the company. IAG owns a 4.6% stake in Norwegian.
The pace of Norwegian’s growth; from July 2017 show it only carried 750,000 passengers into and out of the New York region, has weighed on its finances.
“Fares have been too high for too long as transatlantic routes have been long dominated by carriers with outdated legacies running on fumes,” a Norwegian spokesman said.
“Norwegian will continue to spread its wings to New York “The Big Apple’ with a third-daily service between London and New York JFK from 28 October,” it added.