Fares war as Norwegian set to take off to New York from Capital
Budget airline Norwegian hopes to start a transatlantic fares war with flights from Edinburgh as it announced more than 130 jobs in the Capital.
Return flights will average around £200 – a fraction of that charged by the three airlines which already fly between the city and New York.
The airline said it expected to launch services in June using brand-new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
It will announce the routes by early next month, but chief executive Bjorn Kjos said last May they would “definitely” include Boston.
New York is also expected to be among destinations, although the airline said it was considering using smaller airports outside both cities.
It currently flies to JFK in New York from Gatwick.
Norwegian said reported one-way fares as low as £56 (US$69) would only be available for flights from the US to Edinburgh.
US-bound one-way tickets will be higher because of the air passenger duty – £73, rising to £75 in April – on such flights leaving the UK.
However, a £200 average return fare is far less than those charged by American, Delta and United on the Edinburgh-New York route.
Edinburgh Airport chief commercial officer John Watson said last year that Delta joining the competition last summer meant typical return fares of £800 being halved.
A Norwegian source said: “We are hoping to increase competition and lower fares across the board.”
The airline is likely to prove cheaper even though passengers will have to pay for hold luggage and food and drink, along with potentially higher transport charges if remoter airports are used.
The new jobs comprise at least 100 cabin crew and 30 pilots in Edinburgh, where Norwegian already flies six European routes.
Chief commercial officer Thomas Ramdahl said: “Edinburgh is a central part of our UK growth plans, and together with new aircraft and new flights, we are also creating new jobs in Scotland.
“We are looking for talented crew and pilots to join us in delivering our ambitious growth plans at Edinburgh Airport.
“More jobs in the air will help also create more jobs on the ground and Norwegian’s plans for new flights into Edinburgh will help support tourism, business and hospitality opportunities in the UK’s second most visited city.”
An Edinburgh Airport spokeswoman said: “Norwegian is a valued member of the Edinburgh Airport airline family, already providing connections to a number of European destinations.
“We look forward to any announcement regarding new routes and services, and the subsequent creation of new jobs at Edinburgh Airport.
“Any investment in connections from Edinburgh Airport is great for Scotland’s economy and tourism, and something we’re excited about.”