There could be consequences for SAS, as Norwegian prepares to launch a number of new routes to the south.
From spring 2019, Norwegian will be offering four new routes from western Denmark’s increasingly busy Billund Airport, plus four new charter destinations.
This is the result of the airline choosing to base a plane at the airport, and to operate charter flights for the Copenhagen-based tour operator Bravo Tours.
But in addition to the purely charter flights, there will also be capacity to offer the routes in the shape of free sales via travel agencies and on the company’s website.
Norwegian has decided to open routes to Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Faro and Ponta Delgada in the Azores. To Malaga, it will fly four times a week year-round, while the other three routes will be seasonal, with two weekly departures to Mallorca and a weekly take-off to the other two destinations.
Bravo Tours has bought a portion of the seats on the routes, and in addition there will be full-fare flights to Zakynthos, Kos, Rhodes and Chania on the island of Crete.
This means Norwegian will collect 13 new weekly departures, which increases the number of seats offered from 112,000 to 257,000 throughout the summer period.
“We are happy and proud to be able to bet so much on Billund,” says Thomas Ramdahl, director of short-haul flights at Norwegian.
“With the many new departures we make it easier and cheaper for passengers from Billund Airport to travel south with Norwegian’s state-of-the-art and convenient aircraft.”
He added: “We know that new direct relations help create growth and employment in the local area. We hope the passengers will take action to get involved in our new venture in Billund.”
Pressure for SAS?
Norwegian already offers flights to Alicante, Barcelona and Oslo from Billund, altogether making quite a number of routes in the coming summer schedules.
That Norwegian is going to offer Faro, Malaga and Palma from Billund puts additional pressure on SAS at Aarhus Airport. In summer, SAS is flying to exactly the same destinations, and with a total of seven weekly flights to Malaga and Palma from Aalborg there is the possibility that SAS may be scrambling for passengers.