Europe's third largest low cost airline, Norwegian Air Shuttle, has confirmed it is considering launching operations to both Macedonia and Slovenia, with Croatia remaining its strongest market in the former Yugoslavia. Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News, a spokesperson for the airline said, "Slovenia and Macedonia are definitely of interest to us in the future. We always explore the possibility to add new destinations to our network. This is a very important market for Norwegian. We’ve had scheduled flights to the Balkans since 2004 and our presence and network has grown every year". The no frills airline currently maintains year-round flights to Belgrade, Sarajevo and Pristina, as well as seasonal services to Dubrovnik, Rijeka, Pula, Split, Zagreb and Tivat.
Norwegian notes that passengers on its potential services to Skopje and Ljubljana would be offered transfer options to far off markets such as the United States. "Passengers have the possibility to connect to our long haul routes. For example, next July we have connecting offers from Dubrovnik and Split to New York six days per week", it said. It has been previously reported that the airline showed interest in applying for government-backed subsidies to operate services to Macedonia in 2014/15. Furthermore, local authorities in Niš in south-eastern Serbia have said that Norwegian has recognised the potential of serving the city in the future. On the other hand, Ljubljana Airport is continuing to court low cost airlines, with easyJet to launch new services to the Slovenian capital in December, while Transavia will introduce flights from Amsterdam next April.
Norwegian Air Shuttle is one of the world’s fastest growing airlines and boasts one of the world's youngest fleets. Its rapid expansion, coupled with tight cost controls, is fuelling its impressive financial performance. In 2013 the carrier commenced long haul flights. Next year, Norwegian is set to take delivery of its first Boeing 737-MAX jets, which will enable it to fly between Europe and the US using single-aisle aircraft, opening up the possibility of offering direct routes between smaller airports. Despite expressing interest in two new markets in the former Yugoslavia, the airline has, for now, added only additional services to the Croatian coast and Pristina. "Next year, Norwegian has increased frequencies to Croatia (Pula, Dubrovnik and Split), in addition to the brand new route between Helsinki and Pristina, which is already on sale", the carrier said.