June 17 (UPI) -- Budget airline Norwegian Air completed the first of 12 trans-Atlantic Boeing 737 flights as part of its plan to expand low-cost air travel between the United States and Europe.
The flight from Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, N.Y. landed in Edinburgh, Scotland on Friday and will be followed by two more flights from Providence, R.I and Hartford, Conn. this weekend.
"Four years ago, Norwegian's low-cost long-haul flights revolutionized transatlantic travel, and we are pleased to pave the way once more with our long-anticipated service from three new U.S. cities – Newburgh, Providence and Hartford – to Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Norway," Norwegian's chief commercial officer, Thomas Ramdahl, said in a statement. "We are fully committed to our promise to bring American travelers more affordable fares and to create even more American jobs"
One-way tickets on the new routes have been as cheap as $65.
Norwegian's long-term plans include flights between places like Scotland and cities on the U.S. West Coast like Los Angeles, San Francisco -- and cities between the coasts, such as Memphis.
"I hope we will see that not too far ahead," chief executive Bjorn Kjos told the Scotsman. "It's highly likely to be in 2019. Los Angeles is an obvious place."
These expansions are facilitated by the airline's use of Boeing 737s, which are cheaper to operate than wide-bodied Boeing 787 "Dreamliners" typically used for overseas flights. They also offer smaller seating capacities that allows Norwegian to profitably fly them out of smaller markets.
"You only need to fill 189 seats, much smaller than what you'd have to sell on traditional [widebody] aircraft," Lars Sande, Norwegian's SVP of Sales, said of the 737s in USA Today interview from February.
Norwegian is currently using 737-800 planes but is planning to upgrade to the more fuel efficient 737-MAX aircrafts. The airline hopes to acquire its first 737-MAX by the end of the month and will look to begin flying them on northeast routes by late summer.