| 11.1°C Belfast

Norwegian eyes expansion after launching budget flights from Scotland to US


Norwegian is operating flights from Edinburgh to the US east coast

Norwegian is operating flights from Edinburgh to the US east coast

Norwegian is operating flights from Edinburgh to the US east coast

The boss behind the airline which has launched the first budget flights from Scotland to the US has said the company will be looking to expand across the country.

Norwegian began its transatlantic service from Edinburgh Airport on Thursday with the first of three new routes to the US east coast.

The move has also seen 130 jobs created as a result of the operator opening a new pilot and cabin crew base at the airport.

Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said: "It's something disruptive for the industry. Anything I can do to disrupt the industry I will do it.

"It will be popular both ways, but we were thinking about Americans.

"If they can travel for a low fare where do they want to go? The natural entry point is Scotland.

"We're just starting, but I hope we continue to expand here - there's a lot of potential here in Scotland.

"There's obviously other parts of Scotland we'll be looking at."

The inaugural flight took off from the capital at 5.15pm, starting its daily service to Stewart International Airport in New York.

Norwegian will also launch its first services to Providence, Rhode Island on Friday and the UK's only direct service to Hartford, Connecticut on Saturday.

Boeing 737 aircraft will be used on these routes until the operator receives the brand-new Boeing 737 MAX this summer.

Jack Gooding, 26, from Aberdeen, was travelling on the inaugural flight.

He said: "Me and my girlfriend were planning a trip to New York and saw this flight online.

"It's cheaper flying to New York than parts of Europe, it wasn't a very hard decision - flying to the Isle of Man would have been more expensive.

"She wants to go do lots of quirky stuff, but I just want to do touristy things like wave an American flag in front of the Statue of Liberty."

One-way flights on the company's Edinburgh to US routes can currently be bought for £139.

The budget offering was made possible by choosing to use smaller airports on the US east coast, which have lower landing charges.

Minister for International Development and Europe, Alasdair Allan and Sir John Elvidge, Edinburgh Airport's chairman, joined Mr Kjos to mark the occasion.

Mr Allan said: "The Scottish Government considers air connections to be vital to the development of our economy.

"Recently we have been seeing more and more direct flights from here and the airlines here deserve to be congratulated."