Norwegian Now Flies More Passengers to New York Than British Airways

Apr 26, 2019

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You may assume that the biggest European carrier in New York is British Airways because of its huge presence and frequencies, especially between London Heathrow (LHR) and New York (JFK).

While BA operates the most flights between these two airports, you may be surprised to know that Norwegian now carries more passengers to and from the New York City-area airports than any other foreign airline. Norwegian says it passed Air Canada to take the top cumulative passenger count for foreign carriers flying out of the five airports run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Citing official Port Authority passenger numbers, the airline says it tallied 2,078,847 passengers across the three New York City-area airports the airline uses during a rolling 12-month period ending in February 2019.

That was enough to overtake Air Canada, which previously held the top passenger count for foreign airlines flying from New York City. Norwegian had already overtaken other rivals like Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic and Emirates to become the top foreign carrier (by passengers) on transatlantic routes.

For the 12-month window that ended in February, Norwegian says it finished with 11,800 more passengers than Air Canada across the New York-area airports.

So, how is this so, given Norwegian has fewer daily flights from London than British Airways? Well, Norwegian has managed to claim the crown because it flies nonstop to a range of European destinations from New York beyond the UK, including Amsterdam (AMS), Madrid (MAD), Paris (CDG) and Stockholm (ARN).

In total, Norwegian offers 11 routes to Europe from New York JFK, Newark Liberty (EWR) and Newburgh/Stewart (SWF) airports. Air Canada and its Air Canada Express affiliates fly several Canadian routes from New York LaGuardia (LGA) and Newark (EWR).

“If New York City is the barometer for success in the airline industry, our rapidly growing passenger numbers are proof positive that Norwegian is here to stay, with further efforts to deepen our roots in this market in the forthcoming years,” Bjørn Kjos, Norwegian’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Being number one is a badge of honor that I attribute to the incredible crew, pilots, ground teams, and all the employees that make Norwegian an award-winning airline…” he added in his statement.

Norwegian began flying from the New York City area in 2013 with nonstop service to Oslo and Stockholm on Boeing 787 Dreamliners before growing to its current lineup.

Norwegian has grown rapidly not only in the New York City area but at airports across the United States.

However, that expansion hasn’t always been accompanied with a strong balance sheet. The company struggled with losses in 2018 and embarked on a cost-cutting plan last year to help it rein in costs.

Additional Reporting by Ben Mutzabaugh. Featured image by Benji Stawski / The Points Guy

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