WINDSOR LOCKS, CT — Another low-cost airline is beginning nonstop service to Europe from Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks. Promotional fares for Norwegian Air International flights to Edinburgh, Scotland will start at $65, one-way, and regular fares will be $99 one-way.
Lars Sande, Senior Vice President for Sales with Norwegian Air, says direct flights from Bradley to Edinburgh begin June 17.
“There’s been way too long a wait for the American people to fly really cheap trans-Atlantic. Now we’re bringing this to you, also for you to explore Europe but also for the Europeans to come over here and come here as tourists “
He says the fares are “ridiculously low” to get attention.
The Connecticut Airport Authority will provide half a million dollars in marketing money for the flights, which will operate Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays during the summer, and twice a week in the winter.
The new service comes at a time when international air travel to the U.S. is down. According to Traveller.com, the Global Business Travel Association says visits to the United States are down 2.2 percent since Donald Trump became president.
And Sande says the flights from Bradley, Stewart Airport in New York, and Providence are only the beginning for Norwegian Air: the company has ordered 200 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, and hopes to increase not only the number of flights from Bradley to Edinburgh, but to add other destinations as well. Norwegian Air serves more than 150 airports across Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Thailand.
The Norwegian Air International route will be the second nonstop trans-Atlantic service from Bradley. Aer Lingus began nonstop flights to Ireland in September. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says the two new services join flights to and from Canada to make Bradley “once again a truly international airport.”
Malloy joked that if the legislature passes the budget on time and ends the session, he could take advantage of the promotional fares and get to Scotland in June.
Final figures for 2016 are not in, but Malloy says an estimated six million people traveled through Bradley last year — up about 2 percent over 2015. And he said the addition of Norwegian Air, Aer Lingus, and Spirit Air, with more flights and more destinations, there should be more growth going forward.
Asked about the Aer Lingus experience so far, Malloy said the airline may wish it had started its service in the summer, but he added that they’ll have a better assessment in September after a full year in operation.
Airport Authority Executive Director Kevin Dillon says he sees Norwegian’s budget service as complementary to Aer Lingus, appealing to the economy-minded and to the quarter-million students in Bradley’s marketing area.
Sande said competition is good for fares.
“If there weren’t competition, you would never see $65. You would probably see $650,” Sande said.
Also on hand for the announcement was Brigitta Kroon-Fiorita, interim communications executive for “VisitBritain.”
“VisitBritain is absolutely delighted to be here today to support our friends at Norwegian Airlines with the launch of their exciting new route into Edinburgh,” Kroon-Fiorita, said. “As Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh has so much to offer American visitors. And now, thanks to the incredible rates being offered by Norwegian and the unprecedented, 30 year low exchange rate, more visitors than ever will be able to experience this incredible city this summer and beyond.”