Norwegian to base three aircraft at London Gatwick

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Norwegian Air Shuttle will base three Boeing 737-800s at London Gatwick airport next spring, with plans to launch services to several Mediterranean and Nordic destinations.

The Scandinavian carrier will also establish a new base at Alicante, which will become its third Spanish base alongside Malaga and Las Palmas.

Its new Gatwick base will primarily be used to strengthen short-haul European operations, though the airline says it is open to the possibility of adding long-haul services.

"The new base in England will also enable Norwegian to better meet the head-on competition from Asian and European carriers in the long-haul market," it notes in a statement.

Norwegian already operates more than 100 weekly services between the Nordic region and London.

The airline plans to increase the number of 737s based at Gatwick to four by the end of 2013. Pilots and cabin crew for the new base will be recruited locally, it adds.