DENVER -- Norwegian Air will launch new routes from Chicago
and Denver next summer as part of the low-cost carrier's increased emphasis on
the U.S. market.
"We are very much focused on profitability, and that is why
we have not been adding much short haul," said Norwegian Air spokesman Anders
Lindstrom. "The growth is the U.S., which is our most profitable market." The U.S. is now also Norwegian's largest market, added Lindstrom.
From Denver, Norwegian will fly to Rome next year, joining
the carrier's established Denver-Paris and Denver-London service. The flight
will be the first by any carrier between Denver and Italian capital. It
launches March 31 and continues through Oct. 23, operating thrice weekly for
most of that period.
Norwegian will introduce service from Chicago O'Hare to
Paris and Rome for next year's summer season. The routes will join the
carrier's established Chicago flights to London and Barcelona. The Paris route
begins May 1 and operates through Oct. 24, flying five times per week during
peak of summer. Norwegian will fly four times per week between Chicago and Rome
from June 2 to Oct. 19.
Norwegian will compete with United, American and Air France
on the Paris route, according to Flight Connection. The Rome flight will
compete with American, United and Alitalia.
The new routes are the latest in a string of
U.S-related announcements by Norwegian over the past few weeks.
Last month, the carrier entered into a memorandum of
understanding with JetBlue to interline on connecting Europe-U.S./Latin
America/Caribbean itineraries through JetBlue's three largest focus cities: New
York, Boston and Fort Lauderdale. Norwegian also recently announced summer
seasonal service between Austin and Paris.
And, the carrier launched its first co-branded credit card
for the U.S. market. Customers can use the Mastercard to earn Norwegian Reward points.
The focus on U.S. and seasonal routes are components of
Norwegian's strategy to achieve profitability, Lindstrom said. Norwegian lost
$170.3 million in 2018 and has been forced to take steps to strengthen
its balance sheet. In October, Norwegian entered into a joint
venture with a subsidiary of the China Construction Bank Corp. to finance, own
and lease aircraft that Norwegian has on order. The partnership will reduce
Norwegian's committed capital expenditures by approximately $1.5 billion, the
Last week, Norwegian said it had raised an additional $150
million through a convertible bond issue and a private sale of equity. The
company now says it is fully funded through 2020.