Norwegian out to expand Ireland-US model as it seeks licence to fly to Canadian airports
Irish-based low-cost carrier Norwegian has applied for permission to fly to Canadian airports and could launch services from Ireland this summer. The airline is understood to be exploring route opportunities from Canada to a number of potential airports in Europe, including airports in Ireland.
Norwegian Air International Ltd, an Irish-registered subsidiary of the airline which operates its long-haul flights, last week applied to the Canadian Transportation Agency for an international licence to operate a service between member states of the European Community and Canada.
The airline told the Canadian authorities that it intends commencing commercial activities in Canada on July 23, 2018, and has applied for and is understood to have been granted an exemption allowing it to sell tickets in advance of receiving formal government approval. No routes have been formally approved yet but the airline is seeking a general licence and route approvals, it is understood. Norwegian already has approval from the Irish authorities to operate to Canada from the EU and the Canadian authorities have indicated it is likely a licence will be issued for new services.
Asked to comment on whether the airline intends to fly to Canada from Dublin, Cork or Shannon a Norwegian spokesperson said: "As an ambitious airline with a huge aircraft order, it's no secret that we have plans to expand to other parts of the world. We have applied for a licence to operate flights to and from Canada as it's an interesting market, and we are currently evaluating route opportunities."
Norwegian would join a growing number of airlines serving Canadian airports from Ireland including Aer Lingus, Air Canada, ASL Airlines, Air Transat and Westjet. The arrival of the Scandinavian-owned but Irish-registered low-cost carrier on routes from Dublin, Cork and Shannon to the US has already brought major competition. It faced a three-year battle with American trade unions and transport authorities before it was able to begin operating its Irish-domiciled transatlantic model.
Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos previously told the Irish Independent that the airline could fly to Toronto from Dublin using its new Boeing 737 Max jets, of which it has ordered more than 100.
Sunday Indo Business