Norwegian Air plans to fly between Canada and Europe this summer
Discount airline plans to take off on July 23
A Norwegian discount airline plans to offer no-frills direct flights between Canada and Europe starting this summer — the latest entrant in a hotly contested market that's driving down prices for consumers.
Norwegian Air was granted a permit by the Canadian Transportation Agency to sell tickets ahead of a planned launch this summer.
Although more regulatory approval is needed before being fully cleared for takeoff — including official permission from Transport Canada — the CTA permit is a sign that the airline is on track to get all the permits it would require.
"Transport Canada advises that it expects that the applicant will be issued a [permit] in time for the proposed startup date," the CTA said last week. "Accordingly, the agency is satisfied that there is a high probability that the licence will issue prior to the intended startup date on July 23, 2018."
The airline isn't saying much about what destinations and prices it plans to offer at launch, but confirmed to CBC News in an email that it is kicking the tires on the Canadian market.
"As the world's fastest-growing airline, we are continuously reviewing new markets and applying for traffic rights," spokesperson Anders Lindström said. "While Canada is an interesting market, it's too early to confirm any route plans and we still need full approval from the Canadian authorities to announce or launch any new service."
The move would make Norwegian only the latest airline to throw its hat into the crowded market of flights between Canada and Europe.
In 2015, Icelandic carrier Wow Air launched flights between Canada and Europe for as little as $99 to Iceland and $149 to continental Europe.
And late last year, Latvian based carrier Primera Air announced it plans to fly three times a week between England and Toronto, and four times a week between Toronto and France. Those flights are currently on track to take off starting next month, starting at $199 for a one-way ticket.