< PrevNext > Bjorn Kjos, Norwegian Air Shuttle CEO Transatlantic Trailblazer By Michael B. Baker / December 14, 2017 / Contact Reporter Share Armed finally with U.S. Department of Transportation approval to increase service to the U.S., Norwegian Air Shuttle, already a disruptor on transatlantic routes, is shaking up that business-travel-heavy market even more. The low-cost carrier, started by CEO Bjorn Kjos after the end of Norwegian airline Busy Bee in the early 1990s, has been flying between Europe and the U.S. on Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft for several years. This year, Norwegian also began service from Ireland to two smaller East Coast airports—Stewart International Airport, north of New York, and Providence, R.I.—on single-aisle Boeing 737 Max aircraft. It's the first carrier to introduce smaller jets to transatlantic flights. In all, the carrier has opened about 30 intercontinental routes between Europe, the U.S. and Asia in the past year.The increased capacity has been a factor in bringing transatlantic fares to their cheapest point in years, and that has prompted legacy carriers to adapt to compete. Delta has expanded its Basic Economy to transatlantic flights, and Aer Lingus introduced a similar type of fare on its transatlantic routes. American Airlines may introduce a basic economy fare on its transatlantic flights next year. British Airways parent company International Airlines Group, meanwhile, launched its own low-cost subsidiary, Level, this year.Norwegian's service on smaller aircraft, meanwhile, stands to change the transatlantic market further, as the carrier can offer connections to smaller markets. Other carriers considering transatlantic service on single-aisle aircraft—JetBlue, among them—undoubtedly are monitoring Norwegian's success on the new routes. Norwegian has irreversibly reshaped the way airlines, low-cost and otherwise, look at their network opportunities." "Through a combination of new technology, regulatory change and applying innovative strategies, Norwegian has irreversibly reshaped the way airlines, low-cost and otherwise, look at their network opportunities," according to Peter Harbison, executive chairman of CAPA-Centre for Aviation, which named Norwegian as Airline of the Year for 2017. "The demand is there, and hopefully profitability will follow as Norwegian truly develops from its roots as a European regional airline into a global airline and recognized brand across the world." While its no-frills, low fares draw leisure travelers more than business travelers, Norwegian is not ignoring the corporate market. It's expanding premium seating on its widebody aircraft for U.S. flights, in part because of large demand from corporate travelers seeking lower prices on premium service, according to Kjos. "It's been very attractive for business people," Kjos told BTN. "We are attracting the smart business people who are taking the cost benefit."