Effective March 31, Norwegian Air Shuttle will shift its existing 10 times a week Fort Lauderdale-London (Gatwick) service to Miami International Airport in a bid to attract more premium traffic.
The airline will not abandon Fort Lauderdale completely as it will increase service to Paris (Charles DeGaulle) and resume suspended service to Barcelona on the same day.
Speaking to The USA Today, a Norwegian spokesperson said shifting London flights, will “will provide us with better yield, better cargo opportunities and we will be visible in more search engines for attracting potential customers.”
The spokesperson continued, “London attracts a large number of business travelers, which provides greater opportunities for our competitive Premium cabin out of Miami and San Francisco,” he said. “The other routes are more leisure focused and therefore more suited for Fort Lauderdale and Oakland.” * Note Norwegian is making the same shift in the San Francisco Bay Area where business travelers prefer flying to/from San Francisco than Oakland.
It’s no secret premium travelers prefer Miami which is one of the elite business destinations in the country. However, Norwegian has focused largely on leisure travelers and thus Fort Lauderdale has been the better airport for their services to this point. But the infamously congested customs area at Fort Lauderdale particularly in peak hours (between 4 and 7 pm eastern) has been a deterrent to business travelers flying into the airport, even if they depart the country from it.
It’s hard to forecast how a split operation will work in south Florida, but the airline has already done a similar split in the New York area with more business -oriented destinations being flown from JFK and more leisure oriented destinations being served from Newark or Stewart Field.
Norwegian joins British Airways, Avianca, Caribbean, Bahamasair and Copa Airlines as international carriers that fly to both Miami and Fort Lauderdale.