Ontario International Airport may soon land the first European flights in its history from a new Norwegian carrier that also plans to operate a transatlantic service from New York and Florida.
The new airline, Norse Atlantic Airways, applied for clearance to fly into the United States with the United States Department of Transportation on Monday, September 27. It is also seeking approval from the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority, which is expected by November, the airline said.
If both are approved, Norse plans to operate an unspecified number of flights per week to Oslo, Norway, from Ontario aboard a Boeing 787 “Dreamliner,” which the airline says is over. fuel efficient and much quieter than other airliners.
Besides Ontario, the carrier plans to operate from two other U.S. airports, Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood International Airport and Stewart International Airport in the Hudson Valley, about 60 miles north of Manhattan.
The airline intends to offer low-cost flights to Oslo, with the possibility of adding other European destinations if a need develops, according to the application. Articles in trade magazines indicate that the airline is looking to add services to Paris and London.
“With the transatlantic aviation market showing signs of reopening later this year, we share Norse’s enthusiasm for new, low-cost service to the United States next summer,” said City Councilor for the United States. Ontario Alan D. Wapner, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ontario International Airports Authority.
“In addition, Oslo is an ideal location for connecting flights to the rest of Europe,” added Wapner.
Why did the European carrier choose Ontario Airport as the gateway to California and the West, and not LAX?
“It will be easier for Scandinavians to get the space and doors to do business at Ontario International than at LAX,” said Wapner. He said Norse would join international flights already at ONT, including China Airlines, which serves Taipei, and Colombia-based Avianca Airlines, which recently started flying to San Salvador, El Salvador.
Southern California is home to 1.5 million Salvadorans, while the San Gabriel Valley, Orange County, and parts of the Inland Empire already have large pockets of Asian-Americans. This makes it a ready-to-use passenger base for boarding flights to see relatives or do business in other countries. This is not the case for Norway, said Brett Snyder, editor of the travel blog. crankyflier.com based in Torrance.
“Oslo is not a big US market,” Snyder said Friday. “With the Norwegians, you don’t have that connection to the culture, so I don’t think it will work well. “
More likely, it will be of more interest to Norwegians who want to travel to California on a cheap ticket, Snyder said. “It’s a cheaper way to get people to Los Angeles,” he said.
Opening more cities will be the key to the success of the Nordic Atlantic, he said.
Wapner said catching a connecting flight from Oslo shouldn’t be difficult if a traveler wants to visit other parts of Europe.
Ontario airport regularly emerges from a slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The airport handled 478,000 passengers in July, about 97% of the total number of passengers recorded before the pandemic in July 2019, airport officials reported.
Norse Atlantic buys three 787s put on hold by Norwegian Airlines after its bankruptcy in 2020. It came out of bankruptcy but no longer flies on long-haul flights and instead focuses on the domestic market.
“So in a sense, Norse Atlantic is a reincarnation of parts of Norwegian Airlines,” Snyder said.
Norse wants to provide “access to currently underserved or unserviced airports and local communities in Europe, thereby improving service at underserved and / or satellite US airports,” according to its US request.
The Arendal, Norway-based startup said it would create jobs by hiring flight attendants, pilots and others in the tourism industry in Europe and the United States.
Snyder predicts that the airline will receive approval for its applications and begin service in the summer of 2022. The demand has been served on people at both New York and Florida airports and on heads of various regulators and unions in the United States. United States. Atif Elkadi, deputy director general of ONT, also received an email notification. Elkadi did not return a phone call on Friday October 1.