Norwegian (DY, Oslo Gardermoen) is planning to begin longhaul services to the East Coast of the United States from Italy as early as next year the airline's Chief Commercial Officer, Thomas Ramdahl, has said.

Speaking to La Repubblica newspaper, Ramdahl said the first transatlantic flights would launch from Norwegian's Rome Fiumicino base, which will open to regional European traffic later this month. Thereafter, he added, longhaul operations are also planned for Milan Malpensa.

"Our objective is to create a new market niche that focusses on increasing the number of passengers flying across the Atlantic without affecting the numbers that currently fly with traditional legacy carriers," he said. "We believe, in fact, that a greater variety of choice can benefit travellers in many ways including: more competitive pricing; better quality of service; and increased flight frequencies between Italy and the United States."

According to the ch-aviation capacity module, the Rome-US direct market is dominated by Alitalia (AZ, Rome Fiumicino) with 49.09% of all available weekly capacity followed by partner Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) with 20.98%, American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) with 18.56%, and United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare) with 12.21%. Out of Milan Malpensa, however, it is a different story with Emirates (EK, Dubai Int'l) the most dominant with 30.11% followed by American with 22.52%, Delta with 17%, United with 15.51%, and Alitalia with 14.85%.

Aside from the East and West Coast of the United States, the LCC is also considering starting flights from Italy to China where Ramdahl said, "traffic volumes look decidedly appealing."