Airline Norwegian has confirmed it will restart flights from UK airports from July 1 due to increased demand.

Since April, Norwegian has only operated domestic flights within Norway due to the collapse in passenger numbers caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Where will Norwegian fly to?

The carrier will initially operate flights on four UK routes, connecting Gatwick and Edinburgh with Oslo and Copenhagen.

What have airline bosses said?

The airline’s chief executive, Jacob Schram, said: “Feedback from our customers has shown that they are keen to get back in the air and resume their travels with Norwegian beyond the current domestic services that we have been operating.

“Norwegian is returning to European skies with the reintroduction of more aircraft to serve our key destinations, which will ensure that we remain in line with competing carriers.”

Mr Schram added that Norwegian will offer “great value” as “competition in the industry begins to recover over the summer period”.

Royal Borough Observer: The cabin of a Norwegian Boeing 737-800. Picture: NorwegianThe cabin of a Norwegian Boeing 737-800. Picture: Norwegian

New health and safety measures

It has introduced a series of enhanced safety and hygiene measures, including requiring passengers to wear face masks, banning hand luggage from being put in overhead lockers, and not operating a catering service.

In May, the airline secured a £221 million loan backed by the Norwegian government as part of a rescue package to ensure its survival amid huge losses.

'Very welcome news that flights will resume'

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate, who has seen passenger numbers at his airport decimated during the pandemic, described the return of Norwegian flights as “very welcome news”.

He said: “Consumer demand is picking up as more people want to start flying again.

“For our part, the airport is ready to go and we have implemented a range of measures to protect the wellbeing and safety of both passengers and staff in recent weeks.

“We are starting to see small green shoots of recovery.”

What have other airlines done?

EasyJet restarted flights for the first time in 11 weeks on Monday, June 15.

Among airlines which plan to increase services from current skeleton schedules, Ryanair intends to restore 40 per cent of its flights from July 1, with British Airways is due to make a “meaningful return” to service from next month.