Norwegian is continuing its controversial long-haul expansion with the addition of a London Gatwick-Singapore long-haul low-cost route, operated by its new UK airline.

Gatwick-based NUK has its own air operator’s certificate, which was set up in 2015 to access traffic rights in Asia, Africa and South America.

“The UK is at the heart of Norwegian’s ambitious plans for growth so it is a significant moment not only to launch this exciting new route, but also for it to be the first long-haul route to take to the skies with our new Norwegian UK subsidiary,” Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said.

London-Singapore, which is also Norwegian’s first UK-Asia link, will be operated 4X-weekly by Boeing 787s from Sept. 28, increasing to 5X-weekly in the winter.

“With a huge aircraft order and new traffic rights in place, the new Singapore route marks the first step in Norwegian’s ambitions to expand its existing long-haul network into a range of new global markets,” Norwegian said.

The airline already serves nine US destinations from Gatwick, which Kjos said have attached “huge demand.”

Rapidly expanding Norwegian operates 450 routes to 140 destinations in Europe, the US and Asia. In 2016, the airline carried almost 30 million passengers.

Victoria Moores victoria.moores@penton.com