For several years, Norwegian Air has teased the flying public with promises of $69 tickets to cross the Atlantic.
Now it looks like the cheap tickets for which we have pined for so long may finally be within reach.
According to Norwegian Air chief commercial officer Thomas Ramdahl, his airline is awaiting the aircraft needed for the $69 flights.
That’s because the first of the 100 Boeing 737 MAX 8 airliners Norwegian Air ordered to operate those flights won’t be ready for delivery until 2017.
The Boeing 737 Max 8 is expected to enter service with launch partner Southwest Airlines during the third quarter of 2017. However, Boeing told Bloomberg’s Julie Johnson and Mary Schlangenstein that the planes could be ready for delivery as early as March.
Ramdahl told Business Insider that his airline plans to make an announcement around November or December of this year with firm details of the $69 fares.
“I can promise you that you will see trans-Atlantic flights on the 737Max next year,” Ramdahl told us in an interview last week. “And that’s when you will see the $69 fares.”
The 737 MAX 8 features new fuel-efficient CFM LEAP-1B engines, upgraded avionics, and aerodynamics. As as result, the new jet offers airlines the range and performance to operate trans-Atlantic service with the lower cost of a narrow-body jet.
Following the introduction of the 737 MAX 8, Norwegian will introduce the first of the 30 Airbus A321neo LR airliners it has on order in 2018. The A321neo LR will be larger than the MAX 8 and will also offer greater range than the Boeing.
Norwegian currently operates its trans-Atlantic flights using a fleet of new Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Even though the European low-cost carrier currently do offer bargain basement prices, the costs associated with operating the wide-body jets make the sub-$100 price point unfeasible.
This month, Norwegian announced that, starting next summer, it will commence flights between several major cities in the US and Barcelona, Spain for as low as $189 per ticket one way. These flights will be operated on the airline’s current fleet of Boeing Dreamliners.
In July, Norwegian took home the award for best long-haul low-cost airline in the world from the highly respected consumer aviation website Skytrax. In addition, Norwegian won best low-cost airline in Europe for the fourth year in a row.