Wednesday, September 6, 2017

NEW AIRLINE PLANS: Norwegian Air Argentina to request 155 routes at 06Sep17 Route Hearings

Norwegian Air Argentina plans to request authority to operate 155 routes at the 06Sep17 route hearings.  Everyone is paying close attention to the plans of this new affiliate of the European low-cost carrier (LCC) Norwegian Air Shuttle, which also has three other subsidiaries; Norwegian Air International, Norwegian Air UK and Norwegian Long Haul.  It is widely regarded as the most likely to succeed of the proposed new airlines under the Argentine government's "Commercial Airline Revolution" plan to double the number of people traveling by air in Argentina by 2019.  

The airline will request 75 domestic routes with 34 from Buenos Aires (airport not indicated), 17 from Cordoba (COR), 6 from Mendoza (MDZ), 3 from Rosario (ROS), and 5 from Salta (SLA) with 10 other routes connecting internal Argentine points.  

Norwegian will also request 80 international routes with 63 from Buenos Aires (airport not indicated), 13 from Cordoba (COR), 3 from Mendoza (MDZ) and 1 from Rosario (ROS).   

Proposed aircraft for its fleet include the 737 MAX 8, A321neoLR, and 787-8/9.

Domestic Route Applications

* Buenos Aires (airport not indicated) - Domestic

The 34 domestic routes to be requested from BA all overlap with Aerolineas Argentinas / Austral existing service with the only destinations covered by the national airline that Norwegian will not request being Rio Hondo (RHD) and Rosario (ROS).  On the other hand, Norwegian will ask for Puerto Madryn (PMY) from BA which AR /AU do not fly to.     

Surprisingly, Norwegian has even included some small airports in its request, such as Formosa (FMA), Rio Cuarto (RCU), Santa Rosa (RSA) and Viedma (VDM).   

Cordoba (COR) - Domestic

Norwegian plans to operate a hub from Cordoba (COR) with 17 destinations overlapping with all 12 of Aerolineas / Austral's routes from this airport plus 5 new ones; Mar del Plata (MDQ), Posadas (PSS), San Juan (UAQ), San Luis (LUQ) and Santa Fe (SFN).     

* Mendoza (MDZ) - Domestic 

Six mostly higher-volume destinations are in the works for Norwegian from Mendoza (MDZ) - Cordoba (COR), Jujuy (JUJ), Neuquen (NQN), Rosario (ROS), Salta (SLA) and Tucuman (TUC).  

* Rosario (ROS) - Domestic 

Three popular vacation destinations will be requested from Rosario (ROS) - El Calafate (FTE), Iguazu Falls (IGR) and San Rafael (AFA).

* Salta (SLA) - Domestic   

Five destinations that would probably be a mix of higher and lower-volume traffic from this northern Argentine airport are being sought; higher - Comodoro Rivadavia (CRD), Iguazu Falls (IGR) and Rosario (ROS) plus lower - San Juan (UAQ) and Tucuman (TUC).

International Route Applications

Buenos Aires (airport not indicated, presumably Ezeiza (EZE) - International

The surprisingly large number of 63 international routes is being requested from Buenos Aires. Even though Norwegian would probably only serve a portion of those approved, even 15-20 international routes would be a lot for just one new carrier from Buenos Aires . 

41 of these will be in the Americas - the Caribbean, South America and the United States with 13 currently having no service from Argentina, including Chicago-O'Hare (ORD), Ft. Lauderdale (FLL), Los Angeles (LAX), Orlando (MCO), and San Francisco (SFO) in the US.  Another proposed US destination, Honolulu (HNL) would be an intriguing possibility for non-stop service from Buenos Aires with some exciting vacation packages likely.  The editor of this blog could see Hawaii becoming a fashionable destination for the Argentine travel market. 

15 international destinations would be in Europe with only six currently served by other carriers from Argentina - Barcelona (BCN), Istanbul (IST), London-Heathrow (LHR), Madrid (MAD), Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG), and Rome-Fiumicino (FCO).  The other 9 would be new - Copenhagen (CPH), Kiev (KBP), Malaga (AGP), Milan-Malpensa (MXP), Moscow-Sheremetyevo (SVO), Oslo (OSL), Prague (PRG), Stockholm-Arlanda (ARN) and Zurich (ZRH).

Some exotic destinations include Cape Town (CPT) and Johannesburg (JNB) in South Africa plus Perth (PER) and Sydney (SYD) in Australia and even Tel Aviv (TLV) and Papeete (PPT).     
Cordoba (COR) - International

A surprisingly large number of routes is also being requested from Cordoba (COR) with 13 international destinations being a lot for a market this size.

Several South American points plus a few in the Caribbean and Mexico would be requested along with Barcelona (BCN) and Madrid (MAD) in Spain and Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) in the US. 

Mendoza (MDZ) - International

3 routes are being sought from MDZ to Miami (MIA), Santiago (SCL), and Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU). 

Rosario (ROS) - International

The only international route being applied for from this city is Ft. Lauderdale (FLL). 

A special thank you goes out to the excellent Argentine commercial aviation blog for much of the above analysis. 


* Norwegian Air Argentina is requesting service mostly from the largest Argentina cities - Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Mendoza, and Rosario - which is to be expected as the airline will need a fairly high volume of passenger traffic to achieve the economies of scale necessary to implement its low fare marketing strategy. 

* The airline plans to go head-to-head with Aerolineas Argentinas / Austral in many domestic Argentine markets, which is surprising because of the union opposition that it is likely to generate. While Norwegian thinks of low fares as mostly stimulating new traffic that would otherwise not travel, the general perception will likely be that they are "stealing" passengers from the existing Argentine carriers and the long-distance bus companies.  While the latter is probably somewhat true, Low-Cost Carriers in Europe and the US have mostly generated new traffic rather than taken passengers from legacy airlines.    

* Norwegian Air Argentina is seeking a surprisingly large international presence with 80 routes being requested.  If just half of the requests are approved and initiated, the airline would probably offer more international service from Argentina than any other carrier.    


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