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Europe to Panama aviation: Norwegian mulls new direct UK route

Posted on 2020-02-10

On 27-Jan-2020 a mission of the government of Panama, led by Vice Minister of Foreign Trade Juan Carlos Sosa, met executives of Norwegian Air to discuss the possibility of direct flights between the UK and Panama. The discussion focused on a route between Norwegian's London base at Gatwick and Panama City Tocumen International Airport. According to a government press release, the meeting was "very productive".
Panama is the second largest Central American market by airline seats to/from Europe (after Mexico). It is served from Europe by KLM, Iberia, Air France, Air Europa, Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. However, there are no direct flights to/from the UK and it seems that IAG is happy with its passengers connecting via Madrid.
Norwegian, the biggest long haul low cost operator in Europe, has a hub at London Gatwick, from where it serves 13 North American destinations and two in Latin America (Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro).
Norwegian is currently restructuring its network, but expansion could resume by 2021. UK-Panama would seem to offer the characteristics that might appeal to Norwegian: it is underserved (with almost no LCCs) and offers growth potential.

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