Norwegian Adds New York To Athens & Chicago To Barcelona Flights

At the moment Norwegian is undergoing a major restructuring, given the huge losses they’ve sustained. The airline is transitioning from being focused on growth to being focused on profitability. The airline has some new investors, and plans on downsizing as part of this strategy.

The airline has announced some significant service cuts, so that’s why I’m a bit surprised to see they’re now announcing some new routes as well.

Norwegian has announced two new seasonal transatlantic flights as of summer 2019 — from Chicago to Barcelona and New York JFK to Athens — both of which will be operated by the 787.

Norwegian’s Chicago to Barcelona flight will operate 4x weekly between between June 7 and October 26, 2019. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the flight will operate with the following schedule:

DY7156 Chicago to Barcelona departing 6:30PM arriving 9:50AM (+1 day)
DY7155 Barcelona to Chicago departing 2:05PM arriving 4:30PM

Meanwhile on Saturdays the route will operate with the following schedule:

DY7156 Chicago to Barcelona departing 8:30PM arriving 11:50AM (+1 day)
DY7155 Barcelona to Chicago departing 3:55PM arriving 6:20PM

Norwegian New York JFK to Athens flight will operate 4x weekly between July 2 and October 26, 2019. On Sundays and Wednesdays eastbound and Mondays and Thursdays westbound, the flight will operate with the following schedule:

DY7030 New York to Athens departing 12:55PM arriving 5:05AM (+1 day)
DY7029 Athens to New York departing 9:25AM arriving 12:55PM

Meanwhile on Tuesdays and Saturdays eastbound and Wednesdays and Sundays westbound, the route will operate with the following schedule:

DY7030 New York to Athens departing 12:30AM arriving 4:40PM
DY7029 Athens to New York departing 7:55AM arriving 11:25AM

Norwegian’s SVP of Commercial Long Haul and New Markets has said the following of the new routes:

“Norwegian is fully committed to the United States and have answered our passengers’ growing demand for more destinations from both New York City and Chicago. Already serving most of Europe’s top destinations, Athens is an exciting addition to our transatlantic route network. Barcelona, which we added two and half years ago from the U.S, is performing so well that we are adding both a new route, from Chicago, and increasing frequencies from both New York City and Los Angeles.”

Ticket will go on sale today, and one-way fares between New York and Athens start at $159.90 in economy and $699.90 in Premium. Meanwhile one-way fares between Chicago and Barcelona start at $199.90 in economy and $669.90 in Premium.

It goes without saying that Norwegian is an ultra low cost carrier, so if you’re in economy you can expect to pay for all kinds of extra things, including seats, bags, food, drinks, etc. Still, for travel in summer those are some excellent fares.


Norwegian Premium on the 787-9

While this is Norwegian’s first transatlantic route to Athens, it represents their fifth transatlantic route to Barcelona, as they also fly there out of Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Newark, and San Francisco.

Norwegian economy on the 787-9

Bottom line

Norwegian is going through a tough time, though it’s great to see that they’re still focused on strategically adding routes. Clearly the airline does well with Barcelona, given how many routes they operate there from the US. The only airline they’ll be competing against directly in that city pair is American, which flies between Chicago and Barcelona using a 787-8.

I find the Athens route to be more interesting. Obviously Greece is very popular in the summer, though they’re going up against Delta, Emirates, and United, all of which fly between New York and Athens in summer.

I’ll be curious to see how that route performs.

What do you make of Norwegian’s new transatlantic routes?

Comments

  1. How is Norwegian able to operate all these flights from the US to different countries? Are they registered in the EU or something which makes them non 5th freedom flights? Thanks

  2. @Michael @Andrew – Norwegian does have companies registered in the EU, however, in normal circumstances that only allows them to fly between any two points in the EU. For non-EU flights they would have to originate in the registered country. That being said, the US and EU signed an Open Skies Agreement which states any EU airline can fly between any point in the EU and any point in the US. That’s why Norwegian can fly those routes.

  3. Let’s see if American decides to fight it out on Chicago-Barcelona, or if they roll over and run away from the route like they’ve run away from almost every other transatlantic route in Chicago.

  4. @Another Andrew Thanks! So Air France could fly JFK to FCO if they wanted to in theory? and not need 5th freedom permissions? Are there some sort of gentleman agreements between these full service EU carriers that you don’t see this happen really?

  5. These are not fifth freedom flights. Any carrier registered in the European aviation area (not to be confused with the EU as it includes several more countries) is free to operate between the US and any of these countries.

  6. @Michael: I suspect it’s just not that appealing, as flag carriers capture most of the legacy-level market. You do see it happen though, e.g. British Airways flies NYC-Paris.

  7. The instant turn time in NYC seems a bit odd. I wonder if they’re trading off with another aircraft that arrived earlier.

  8. Michael, they sort of do that by having all these old national carriers owned by one company.

    IE, International Airlines Group owns Air Lingus, British, and Iberia. For branding reasons, it makes sense for Iberia to fly the Spain routes and BA to fly the UK routes, but they dont have to.

    The closest in the US is Delta and Aeromexico. If there is a US-Mexico flight and more customers are expected to be Americans, Delta does it. If more customers are expected to be Mexican, Aeromexico does the route. But its all coordinated

  9. I’m not particularly surprised they’re launching new routes. Is it really better to just leave the planes empty on the ground?

  10. @Christian With all the operations Norwegian has in and out of JFK to other European destinations, they would easily be able to operate something that seems like an “instant” turn time with an aircraft that has arrived from the other cities.

  11. Hi, I plan on getting two airfares from Chicago to Barcelona and return to Chicago. Departing on Friday or Saturday, August 30 or 31, 2019 and returning home on Monday, Sep16, 2019. Would like the premium , Thanks and when can I make book flights? Wanda Clark

  12. Hi, I plan on getting two airfares from Chicago to Barcelóna and return to Chicago. Departing on For or Saturday, August 30 or 31, and returning home on Monday, September 16, 2019. When can I purchase tickets?

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