Norwegian Air Shuttle will begin service between London Gatwick and Las Vegas on Oct. 31.

Gatwick will bring to four the number of destinations Norwegian will serve from Las Vegas, joining existing Copenhagen and Stockholm routes and a weekly Oslo flight that commences on Nov. 1.

The Gatwick flight will be operated on Mondays and Thursdays. Tickets are on sale now, beginning at $259 each way.

The announcement of the latest U.S. expansion plan for Norwegian Air Shuttle comes as its parent company, Norwegian Air Group, finds itself in a pitched political battle over an application for permission to begin operating U.S. flights through a second subsidiary — Ireland-based Norwegian Air International (NAI).

Norwegian executives say they need the Ireland-based entity in order to more easily expand its connecting route network to South America, Asia and Africa.

While Ireland is a member of the European Union (EU), Norway is not, and therefore Norwegian Air Shuttle cannot as easily take advantage of international EU aviation agreements as NAI could, they say.

Opponents, most notably labor unions and legacy U.S. airlines (American, Delta and United), accuse Norwegian of attempting to take advantage of Irish labor laws that are less strict than the labor laws of Norway.

Approval of NAI, they say, would allow Norwegian to hire workers from Asia on short-term contracts at cut-rate wages.

On Friday, the campaign of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton waded into the debate, calling on the Obama administration to deny the permit, saying that the NAI application is an attempt by Norwegian “to flout labor standards and outsource good-paying jobs.”

The DOT tentatively approved the NAI application on April 15.

The fate of the Ireland-based entity won’t impact services offered through Norwegian Air Shuttle, including the newly announced Gatwick-Las Vegas route.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI