Norwegian Air announced their first flights to Canada today, launching service from Montreal and Hamilton (Toronto area). This is on the heels of new service they announced from Florida to Europe just a couple of weeks ago. I don’t think they’re done announcing new routes given the number of planes they have on order.
Norwegian will launch 2 new routes from Montreal:
- Seasonal service to Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean will begin this fall 3 times per week.
- Season service to Martinique in the French Caribbean will begin this fall 3 times per week.
Interestingly, they also plan to connect both Martinique and Guadeloupe to Cayenne in French Guiana (northern coast of South America). Those flights will be winter seasonal flights as well, likely supported by some of the same aircraft serving the Montreal-Caribbean routes. I visited Martinique and Guadeloupe a couple of years ago when Norwegian entered the market. They struck me as affordable destinations in the Caribbean that hadn’t yet been overrun. Given how affordable both islands were I would definitely give them another shot.
Norwegian will serve these routes with Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The fares from Montreal will start at 219 CAD. That’s a bit higher than the US flights to Martinique and Guadeloupe. Not terribly surprising given the lack of cheap flights in Canada.
Norwegian is also launching service from the Toronto area. Hamilton is about an hour from Toronto and will be the site of new service to Dublin starting in March, 2019. Unsurprisingly, this route will be served by a new Boeing 737 MAX. It’s a comfortable enough plane for short flights over the Atlantic. I’d always prefer a lie-flat bed on overnight flights, but it’s hard to beat a price of 279 CAD one-way for an economy seat. These prices are lower than the average fare I’m seeing in the market between Toronto and Dublin right now, but not quite as low as some of the other fares Norwegian has entered new markets with in the past.
Seasonal US Flights To The Caribbean Are Back
Norwegian also announced that they’ll bring back service from New York/JFK and Fort Lauderdale to Martinique and Guadeloupe. That’s good news for folks in those markets looking for an affordable Caribbean getaway this winter. I’m sad that the Baltimore service they initially offered never caught on. If those flights existed, I would definitely book a trip for the family.
For folks in the US, it’s actually pretty easy to island-hop from Martinique or Guadeloupe to the more popular St. Maarten. I did both in my brief trip down there a couple of years ago.
The Final Two Pennies
I imagine there are some concerned folks in Canada this morning. There’s a reason the parent company of British Airways wants to buy Norwegian. Norwegian has done a great job bringing down prices on routes in tons of markets. That’s put a real crimp in British Airways’ style. Air Canada enjoys the fact that they don’t have low-cost competition on many of their routes today. One route from the Toronto area to Dublin won’t change the market. However, I’d be pretty shocked if these are the last flights we see Norwegian launch to/from Canada.
I definitely think there’s a market for Norwegian to operate some 787s in between Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver and some of the destinations deeper in Europe. Their premium product is very reasonably priced, and I think it would sell very well from key Canadian cities.
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