Norwegian will use its first Airbus aircraft to operate UK intercontinental services from 2020, the Scandinavian low-cost carrier has confirmed.

In 2019, eight new Airbus A321LR jets will join the fleet of Norwegian, currently an all-Boeing operator.

The airline is planning to use the narrowbodies on routes from London to the US East Coast and Midwest, citing Detroit, Philadelphia and Minneapolis as "examples of destinations that could be served". It adds that it will also consider Middle Eastern routes for the A321LR.

“The UK will be at the heart of our continued global expansion and we remain fully committed to the market," states chief executive Bjorn Kjos, who is today setting out the airline's plans for the UK market during a media briefing in London.

Norwegian has been operating US services from London Gatwick since 2014, and will tomorrow launch South American flights with a Boeing 787 service to Buenos Aires.

Citing "strong ticket sales" on route to Argentina's capital, the airline says it is "exploring potential new routes to more South American countries".

Also in prospect is "further Asian expansion", following Norwegian's launch of a Gatwick-Singapore service. The airline indicates that it will add Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing to its Gatwick network if it receives access to the Siberian corridor.

Norwegian adds that 10 new 787s joining its fleet this year will replaced its current Gatwick-based Dreamliner fleet. The incoming aircraft will include 56 premium seats, up from 35 on those currently in service. Long-haul wi-fi is to be rolled out from the end of this year on Norwegian's 787s and 737 Max jets, giving passengers the option of free wi-fi or a paid-for high-speed service fast enough to stream movies.

To attract business passengers, Norwegian is including lounge access with premium tickets and increasing the frequencies of three services: the airline will serve Buenos Aires daily this winter, and conduct 11 flights per week to Los Angeles, rather than nine, as well as four per week to Fort Lauderdale, rather than two.

The airline adds that it has "long-term ambitions to secure slots for a triple-daily Gatwick-New York service".

Source: Cirium Dashboard