Norwegian Air to set up London long-haul base

OSLO Fri Aug 22, 2014 12:08pm BST

A Norwegian Air Shuttle Boeing 737-800 is seen in the air near Oslo Airport, Gardermoen in this July 17, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Kyrre Lien/Scanpix

A Norwegian Air Shuttle Boeing 737-800 is seen in the air near Oslo Airport, Gardermoen in this July 17, 2009 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Kyrre Lien/Scanpix

OSLO (Reuters) - Budget airline Norwegian Air Shuttle will establish a long-haul base at London's Gatwick airport and plans to move many pilots currently based in Bangkok to the British base, it said on Friday.

Norwegian opened a short-haul base at Gatwick last year, and recently launched flights to the United States, taking its total number of routes from the airport to 41 and the number of weekly flights to 400.

Recruitment to the new unit will begin early next year in time for when the airline takes delivery of its eighth Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and long-haul pilots currently stationed at the company's Bangkok base have been offered to move to Gatwick, Norwegian said.

"Launching long-haul routes between London Gatwick and the United States is ... an important part of Norwegian's strategy to expand internationally and get a stronger foothold in global markets," the airline said in a statement.

(Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg, writing by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche)