Feb 23 (Reuters) - Budget-conscious travelers can now book $65 trans-Atlantic flights on Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA , the company announced on Thursday, ramping up pressure on U.S. carriers to compete with increasingly low fare international airlines.
Beginning in mid-June, the low-cost European carrier will launch one-way flights from Stewart International Airport in Orange County, New York, T.F. Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island, and Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Connecticut to destinations in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
“I pay for what I want, you pay for what you want. We don’t pay for what everybody else on the plane wants,” spokesman Anders Lindström said of the tax-inclusive low fares.
Thousands of tickets will be offered at the $65 introductory rate. Tickets on the next pricing tier start at $99, taxes included. This compares to one-way New York to Dublin air ticket prices of about $655 to just over $2,755 being offered by other airlines for mid-June, online travel website Expedia shows.
American carriers have for years protested Norwegian Air’s presence in the U.S. market, complaining that Europe’s third-largest budget airline is adding flights that exceed traveler demand, pushing down fares and hurting airlines’ revenue.
The carrier is taking advantage of an agreement to liberalize air travel between the United States and the European Union, updated in 2011, which allows airlines from non-E.U. states Norway and Iceland to fly anywhere between the two blocs.
To keep costs low, Norwegian Air will fly from smaller U.S. airports with lower fees.
“Our product is based on freedom to choose,” Senior Vice President of Sales Lars Sande said in a phone interview. “If you want to go to Europe for $99 one way, you can.”
Other carriers, including Iceland’s Wow Air and Lufthansa’s budget subsidiary Eurowings, also offer low-cost long-haul flights. (Reporting by Alana Wise in Washington and Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
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