Norwegian Air Argentina routes approved

Argentina’s aviation regulator this week approved the application of Norwegian Air Argentina to operate as many as 153 routes based on an application filed in August (Scroll down to “PEDIDO IX”). The approval is for a 15-year license and allows Norwegian Air Argentina to fly the specific routes on a fleet of Boeing 787–8/9 Dreamliners, 737–800s, 737 MAX 8s, and Airbus A321LRs. The ruling grants permission but does not require the flights to operate.

The approved routes cover more than 500 weekly frequencies. Some 300 of them are domestic flights, with hubs in five cities: Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Mendoza, Rosario and Salta. There are a few additional routes not from those hubs as well.

The massive domestic network that Norwegian Air Argentina could potentially operate
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper — copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

Only nine of the 75 domestic routes are approved for more than daily frequencies or greater, all from Buenos Aires.

These are the routes Norwegian Argentina could operate with daily frequency or higher
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper — copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

For the international route network Buenos Aires is also the main focus, particularly for the long-haul routes. And looking at the list of destinations chosen it seems like it was something of a shotgun approach, naming everything that might be ever considered. Not a bad plan, really, and it seems to have worked as all but a handful were approved (it is unclear if the 3 denied were domestic or international). That said, there are some really, really sexy lines on the map. International routes would also need approval from the foreign government, so that is a consideration for the potential operations.

All the international routes Norwegian Argentina applied for
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper — copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

That’s a pretty busy map. Here’s a somewhat better look of what could happen, split up more regionally (click ’em for better views).

Within South America the international network for Norwegian Air Argentina is broad
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper — copyright © Karl L. Swartz.
Many routes into the Caribbean and United States
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper — copyright © Karl L. Swartz.
Europe is well covered by the route application
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper — copyright © Karl L. Swartz.
A few more routes
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper — copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

Only four of the international routes have daily frequency or better, and they max at two for all but London.

Daily or greater frequencies from Buenos Aires
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper — copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

Somewhat surprisingly, Barcelona is not a daily destination. That route does have competition, including from IAG’s new long-haul LCC LEVEL. Maybe avoiding the LCC fare war bloodbath is a good idea, but when it comes to competing frequencies are a big part of that effort.

Norwegian can cherry-pick leisure travelers with flights a couple times a week (132 of the routes are only set to operate 2–3 times per week) and search for profitable opportunities.

Clearly not all of these will operate, but wow is it fun to think about some of these lines.

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