Low-fare European airline Norwegian Air made a splash Thursday, announcing 10 new transatlantic routes from three Northeast airports to Europe, with introductory one-way fares starting at $65.
Tickets went on sale Thursday morning at Norwegian.com/us. The fare for the first 10,000 seats, which were selling fast, was $65 each way including taxes, said airline spokesman Anders Lindstrom.
Flights will begin June 15 to Edinburgh, Scotland; and in early July to Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Dublin, Shannon, and Cork; Ireland, from three airports: Stewart International near Newburgh, N.Y., north of New York City; T.F. Green Airport in Providence, R.I.; and Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Conn.
By late afternoon, the $65 tickets for the peak summer season were gone. "There are some left for the winter season," Lindstrom said. "We sold many more than 10,000 tickets today."
Norwegian said the next pricing tier started at $99 one-way from Newburgh, Providence, and Hartford. "It's the lowest affordable transatlantic nonstop fares ever available in America," Lindstrom said.
Ticket prices will be higher from the United Kingdom because taxes there are much higher, Lindstrom said. Fares coming back from Europe will be about 160 British pounds, or $200, because of the taxes, he said.
By comparison, prices for a one-way ticket from New York's John F. Kennedy airport to Dublin in early July on expedia.com ranged from $754 to $2,755.
The new routes will be operated by Norwegian's Irish subsidiary. The carrier said it would open crew bases in New York and Rhode Island and had a $18.5 billion order for Boeing aircraft.
Norwegian Air — like U.S. airlines Spirit and Frontier — boasts an "ultra low-cost" business model, with low base fares, but extra charges for everything, including baggage, meals, extra legroom, and advance seat assignment.
The carry-on bag that's free is one that fits under the seat in front of the passenger.
Norwegian Air's network expansion in the U.S. was approved by the Obama administration, but has been protested by established U.S. airlines including American, United, and Delta.
The growing competition has led British Airways and Air France-KLM to announce recently that they plan to offer some low-cost transatlantic fights this year to compete.
Norwegian, which carried 30 million passengers in 2016, operates 450 routes to 150 destinations in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Thailand, and the Caribbean. Norwegian recently announced plans to fly from Europe in coming months to Oakland, Calif.; Los Angeles; Newark, N.J.; and Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
"With 200 aircraft on order, we are looking at a lot of airports in America," Lindstrom said.