Norwegian Granted Slots At London Heathrow Airport

**Update: 2/12/19 @ 12:00 UTC – A Norwegian Air Shuttle spokesperson confirmed the new slots at Heathrow, details below**

Norwegian Air Shuttle has been granted six slots at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) according to the just-released report from the airport slot coordinator. In the Heathrow Airport (LHR) Summer 2020 (S20) Initial Coordination Report, data shows that Norwegian Air Shuttle is the only airline to have been allocated new slots at London’s busiest airport.

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Norwegian granted six slots at London, Heathrow. Photo: NAS

The fact that Norwegian Air Shuttle has been allocated new slots at one of the world’s biggest airports is news in itself. For the airport slot coordinator to grant six slots at Heathrow to just one airline is almost unheard of.

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What is an airport slot?

Aircraft landing and taking off times are considered as being limited time slots for airlines to operate their aircraft.

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Slots not only give an airline a time period from which to take off and land, but they also include all the necessary services like refueling, baggage handling and catering services that airlines require.

Airports can only handle a certain amount of air traffic based on their size and the number of runways and gates they have. This is why slots at major airports are very valuable to airlines.

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Norwegian is stopping some long-haul routes from Scandinavia

Slots at London Heathrow are some of the most coveted slots anywhere on the planet and sell for a premium price. The fact that Norwegian Air Shuttle has been granted not one, but six of these desirable slots is is quite surprising.

The news could also very well tie in with the fact that the low-cost carrier just announced on Wednesday that it was ending some of its long-haul routes from Scandinavia to the United States and Thailand.

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London Heathrow is much better than either Copenhagen, Oslo or Stockholm. Photo: NAS

When talking about the cessation of long-haul flights from Copenhagen and Stockholm, USA TODAY quotes Norwegian Senior Vice President Matthew Wood as saying:

“Scandinavia is not large enough to maintain intercontinental flights from Oslo, Stockholm, and Copenhagen.”

He added that Norwegian has “had challenges with the Rolls Royce engines,” meaning “more aircraft on the ground. This affects the route program.”

London is a much better option for Norwegian transatlantic flights

Just think how much better it will be for Norwegian to operate their long-haul routes out of London rather than Copenhagen or Stockholm. Firstly, London is a prime destination in its own right and has hundreds of destinations to connect to, not just from Heathrow but other London airports as well.

Add to this Norwegian’s announcement in October that it was signing an interline agreement with American low-cost carrier JetBlue and all the pieces begin to fall into place.

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Norwegian has done a deal with low-cost carrier JetBlue. Photo: NAS

JetBlue just happens to be the largest airline at several of the cities in North America that Norwegian flies to. This includes New York JFK, Boston Logan, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

This is a big deal for Norwegian Air Shuttle and will send a message to British Airways and Virgin Atlantic that a new low-cost option will now be available for transatlantic travel from LHR. Norwegian told Simple Flying:

“Norwegian can confirm that the airline has been granted six slots, three takeoff and three landing, at London Heathrow. We have a strong track record of disrupting incumbent carriers and alliances by offering low fares and award winning service on specific routes and destinations that were previously operated as monopolies. Our strategy benefits both consumers and businesses boosting local economies and employment. We continuously adjust our network in response to demand and we will announce any further changes as and when it is appropriate to do so.”

What do you think about Norwegian Air Shuttles’ new slots at London Heathrow? Please let us know in the comments.

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Frank

I thought all the slots at LHR were taken and that a new runway was needed to create more. Have they been sitting on these, waiting for the right moment to open them up?

AK47

Tunisair lost all its slots. That’s where they are coming from.

Howard Miller

This is GREAT NEWS for flyers!

It’s absolutely inexcusable that one of the world’s most heavily traveled routes, Heathrow-JFK, has just 2 airline anti-trust immunized joint venture aligned groups operating, BA/AA & DL/VS.

That’s ridiculous!

Were these slots released as a condition for regulatory approval of Virgin Atlantic into the Delta-Air France-KLM anti-trust immunized joint-venture alliance?

Just wondering.

Joanna Bailey

As far as we know, the CMA investigation is still ongoing. However, it may be that the slot coordinator feels under pressure to allocate them to other airlines. Great news for Norwegian though.

Frank

Mark – just curious; are these 3 pairs of slots or 6 pairs? Thanks

transtraxman

So Norwegian is bankrupt, then gets baled out by Norway´s richest man, then with some financial wizardry obtains the funds to continue for another twelve months, signs an agreement with Jet Blue to link up and ends up with six pairs of slots at Heathrow where each is worth as much as the Mona Lisa. So who is doing who which favours? Howard Miller seems to have hit the nail on the head though he has forgotten that United also flies from Heathrow to New York. So will it be that Jet Blue flies into LHR from Boston and Norwegian… Read more »

Erick

Get your facts right. Norwegian just presented the best 3Q results in their history. And has not been baled out by anyone. The flying transatlantic cartells , should get more competion. And even if NAS is a low cost airline. It’s ranked higher on Skytrax 100, than any major American carrier. Not long ago, Delta and KLM, were forced by European anti trust authritie, to give up slots at Amsterdam Schipoel, and award them to Norwegian. Kudos to Heathrow, for trying to stop dirty tricks from the legacy carriers.

Flyerman

What are you talking about? Norwegian isn’t bankrupt, far from it. They have made some moves to change from further expansion to higher profits. A lot of new investors have signed up, they wouldn’t do that if they didn’t believe in the company. Norwegian also expects a huge compensation from Boeing and Rolls Royce after problems with Dreamliner engines and the 737 MAX.

Joanna Bailey

Norwegian’s made some great shakes into returning to profitability, no bailout has been made. The slots were almost certainly handed back to the airport by Tunisair, therefore were sold to NAS at ‘standard’ price, rather than changing hands between airlines where they sell for massively inflated rates. Also it’s three pairs, three take off three landing.

Frank

You think Oman Air – who reportedly paid $75 million for a daily pair at LHR is a little miffed? I know – they are 3 weekly pairs, but still… Any idea what the standard price is?
Funny thing is, by simply giving away a slot like this to an airline, you can increase it’s value by some good margin.

aaron

Norwegian gets to dip their toe in LHR, which could be a boon to their business, but the operational cost of operating only 3x weekly may also cancel the potential revenue boost.

Also, 4 other carriers were awarded slots in S20 according to the report. Norwegian wasn’t the only.

Joanna Bailey

Agreed, they had applied for 14 so clearly wanted a daily, but only got 6. Will look into who else got slots, thanks for the feedback.

Noah Bowie

This may be one of the few things force BA and Virgin to work together. Expect from the two of them a hard drive to drain Norwegian of cash until they can no longer function. What doesn’t make sense to me is that Norwegian don’t have enough slots to make Heathrow viable for connecting passengers plus they won’t be able to compete against the much higher capacity and frequency of BA and American, Virgin and Delta as well as United so to me this seems like a waste of the small amount of money Norwegian has left. They could be… Read more »

Joanna Bailey

They had applied for 14 so clearly wanted a daily. What they’ll do with three flights a week remains to be seen!

Colin from norway.

Hello.. only from Copenhagen and Stockholm they shutting down the long-haul routes…

Joanna Bailey

Thank you, yes I’ll reword a few bits to make that clear.

Martin A.

Your auto spell check may have not caught it: “Add to this Norwegian’s announcement….” , not Norwegians…

Peter M Rodriguez

I have used Norwegian every year to fly to Europe and I’m really very disappointed with the new CEO’s decision to cancel their flights from LAX to Copenhagen. Where is Norwegian loyalty to its customers? We were loyal to them when they need us and now Norwegian is turning their back on us in America. That was a selfish careless decision made by the new CEO. He should have at least left one flight a week or every 2 weeks from LAX to CPH. Thank you Norwegian for your loyalty to your loyal customers.