The transatlantic ultra low cost carrier market sure has been heating up lately, especially with Norwegian and WOW Air. With the new 737MAX and A320neo aircraft in service, we’re going to see even more transatlantic flights operated by small aircraft, which opens up lots of opportunities for ultra low cost carriers to serve point-to-point markets.
Last July we first learned that Primera Air, which is a European leisure airline, would be launching transatlantic flights as of this spring. Since the initial the announcement they’ve also added transatlantic flights to Canada. Here are the launch dates for their transatlantic routes:
- London Stansted to Newark 1x daily starting April 19, 2018
- London Stansted to Boston 4x weekly starting May 18, 2018
- London Stansted to Toronto 3x weekly starting May 19, 2018
- Birmingham to Newark 1x daily starting May 18, 2018
- Birmingham to Boston 4x weekly starting June 22, 2018
- Birmingham to Toronto 3x weekly starting June 23, 2018
- Paris Charles de Gaulle to Newark 1x daily starting May 18, 2018
- Paris Charles de Gaulle to Boston 3x weekly starting June 21, 2018
- Paris Charles de Gaulle to Toronto 4x weekly starting June 22, 2018
The airline has a total of eight A321neo aircraft on order, plus two A321LR aircraft, so they have a bit more room for growth.
Primera Air’s next transatlantic route has just been announced. Primera Air will fly 5x weekly between London Stansted and Washington Dulles as of August 22, 2018. The new route will operate with the following schedule, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays:
PF47 London to Washington departing 3:55PM arriving 7:50PM
PF48 Washington to London departing 9:20PM arriving 9:50AM (+1 day)
The flight covers a distance of 3,696 miles in each direction, and the flight is blocked at 8hr55min westbound and 7hr30min eastbound. Nine hours on an A321 is a long time.
Primera Air’s A321neos are configured with 198 seats, including 182 economy seats and 16 premium economy seats.
Tickets are now for sale at primeraair.com, and fares start at $199 one-way, though that’s based on a roundtrip purchase. Unfortunately the return flight seems to be more expensive, so the cheapest roundtrip fares I’m seeing are ~$480. That’s also the absolute cheapest fare which includes almost nothing, and ticket costs only go up from there. In many cases that’s not significantly cheaper than what other airlines charge.
As far as Primera Air’s onboard product goes, they have both an economy and premium economy cabin, as mentioned above. In economy, what’s included depends on the type of fare you book. Premium economy seats look similar to what you’d get in domestic first class in the US, and all of those fares include hand baggage, a checked bag, a meal, and priority boarding.
What’s interesting about this announcement is that for Primera Air’s other North American gateways — Boston, Newark, and Toronto — the airline announced service to three European destinations at the same time. In this case they’re only adding a single route out of Washington Dulles. I’m not sure if they’re maxed out based on the planes they have for now, or if they just don’t see potential in the other markets out of Washington Dulles. I guess we’ll find out over time, as it could be that other routes are still coming.
Anyone considering flying with Primera Air between Washington and London?
(Tip of the hat to @ameeriklane)