Norwegian Air Shuttle confirmed (11-Nov-2013) the opening of its fifth Spanish base at Spain's Madrid Barajas Airport in summer 2014. The carrier plans to base two Boeing 737-800s at the Spanish capital, as well as recruit 70 local pilots and 140 local cabin crew. CEO Bjorn Kos said the Madrid base is of "strategically important" to the carrier's presence in the Spanish market and to its future plans, as reported by Europa Press. Norwegian Ambassador Johan Christopher Vibe said the base opening was "good news" and that Norwegian is "a major player not only in the Norwegian market but also at the Nordic and European level". Mr Vibe noted 1.3 million Norwegians visited Spain in 2013, 25% of the country's population, calling it a "massive presence" and a "true viking invasion". Six new routes are planned to launch from summer 2014:
- Madrid-London: Daily service from 02-Jun-2014. British Airways, Iberia, Air Europa, easyJet and Ryanair also operate on the route, according to Innovata;
- Madrid-Oslo: Three times weekly service from 03-Jun-2014. Ryanair operates seasonally on the route, according to Innovata;
- Madrid-Warsaw: Twice weekly service from 03-Jun-2014. LOT Polish Airlines also operates, on the route, according to Innovata;
- Madrid-Stockholm: Four times weekly service from 04-Jun-2014. SAS operates seasonally on the route, according to Innovata;
- Madrid-Helsinki: Three times weekly service from 04-Jun-2014. Finnair also operates on the route, according to Innovata;
- Madrid-Hamburg: Four times weekly service from 04-Jun-2014 Germanwings also operates on the route, according to Innovata.
Norwegian also plans to increase Madrid-Copenhagen frequency to four times weekly from Apr-2014 to Jun-2014, and then increase to daily service from Jul-2014. The carrier also operates bases at Alicante, Malaga, Gran Canaria and Tenerife Sur. [more - original PR - Norwegian Air Shuttle] [more - original PR - Stockholm Arlanda] [more - original PR - Hamburg Airport - German]