Budget carrier Norwegian Air is planning to fly to India among other countries by 2016-end in its new global push, Reuters reported citing a company spokesperson. The move would make it the first long distance international budget carrier to fly to India.
Currently, only short to medium haul low cost international carriers fly to India and the long distance segment is served only by full service airlines. Emirates is believed to be top player in the long haul international route.
Indian budget carriers IndiGo and SpiceJet also fly to short to medium haul route.
Apart from India, the Scandinavian budget carrier is also looking to launch direct flights from London, Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm to Brazil and South Africa by the end of next year when it receives the larger aircraft.
“It would be natural for these routes to be flown from the Scandinavian capitals and from London Gatwick where we are already seeing unprecedented growth,” a spokesperson of Norwegian Air Shuttle, which operates under the Norwegian Air brand, told the news agency.
Norwegian currently uses seven Boeing Dreamliners for its long haul operation and has a further 10 on order for delivery in 2015 and the coming years. As of August 2014, Norwegian operates 98 aircraft of which 90 are Boeing 737s and seven are Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
In May 2013, the carrier had launched long-distance flights from Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen to Thailand and the United States. The long-haul flights are operated by two fully owned subsidiaries.
Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia, Singapore-based low-fare airline Tiger Airways Singapore Pte Ltd and some Gulf-based low cost carriers also fly to India but they are short haul flights.
Norwegian Air Shuttle is the third largest low-cost carrier in Europe behind Ryanair and EasyJet, and the ninth-largest airline in Europe in terms of passenger numbers.