As Delta plans JFK flights...

Norwegian Air planning Edinburgh-US routes

Stewart Wingate Bjorn Kjos

One of Europe’s low-cost airlines today unveiled plans to fly between Edinburgh and the US as it urged Scotland to support Gatwick’s bid for an extra runway.

Norwegian Air has urged Scottish businesses and policymakers to support the case for Gatwick Airport’s expansion “to promote more competition in the UK airports market and more choice for Scots”.

Norwegian chief executive Bjorn Kjos was in Scotland with Gatwick Airport’s CEO Stewart Wingate to make the case for a more competitive UK airports sector, and to engage with Scottish business leaders and political figures.

Speaking at a media conference in Edinburgh, Mr Kjos – who said his airline is planning new flights between Edinburgh to New York, Boston and San Francisco – said Heathrow was becoming too expensive and that Gatwick would help promote regional airport expansion.

“The new fuel-efficient aircraft we have on order will make it possible to launch low-cost transatlantic routes from Edinburgh in future, creating affordable fares and more choice for business and leisure passengers in Scotland,” he said.

His comments came ahead of Delta Airlines announcing a new Edinburgh-New York service. It will fly daily between Scotland and JFK from July to September, joining United and American Airlines in what is developing into a price war.

Mr Kjos and Mr Wingate met the new Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousaf to press Gatwick’s case.

Mr Wingate said the decision on whether to back Heathrow or Gatwick now rested with the Department for Transport.

“I expect a decision in the summer,” he said, restating the financial and environmental arguments in favour of Gatwick over Heathrow, which include the lower cost of building a new airstrip, the quicker delivery of the project and the lower noise impact.

He also repeated claims earlier in the week that the Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, “had got its sums wrong.” He said the commission was wrong on traffic forecasts, on passenger traffic and on the benefits to each airport.

“When you look at the analysis it does not stand up to scrutiny,” he said.

He said that “as far as I know” the Scottish government had not made a decision on which airport to favour.

Photo: Stewart Wingate and Bjorn Kjos (copyright Terry Murden)

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