Norwegian just gave Iberia the best gift it could have asked for: it is abandoning the majority of its routes from Madrid.
Profit has been elusive for Norwegian, which is seeking to shed unprofitable routes and navigate an aircraft shortage worsened by the ongoing grounding of the Boeing 737MAX.
As part of that effort, it is ending service from Madrid Barajas (MAD) to:
- Copenhagen – CPH
- Stockholm – ARN
- Palma de Mallorca – PMI
- Reykjavik – KEF
- Gran Canaria – LPA
- Tenerife – TFN
Furthermore, seasonal service from Madrid to Italy and Croatia will not be renewed:
- Catania – CTA
- Dubrovnik – DBV
Norwegian will continue to serve Madrid from London (LGW), Oslo (OSL), Los Angeles (LAX), and New York (JFK).
The retreat from Madrid is a win for Iberia, which will no longer face such fierce price competition from low-cost Norwegian.
Thomas Cook’s Loss is Norwegian’s Gain
Even as Norwegian scales down its operations in Madrid, it will maintain a strong schedule to Gran Canaria (18 routes) and Tenerife (13 routes) during the winter months. Stepping up after the sudden dissolution of Thomas Cook, which had a strong presence in both Spanish islands, represents what Norwegian views as a better strategy in Spain.
Norwegian is retreating in Madrid, which may spell bad news for Iberia flyers. Iberia’s likely response to Norwegian’s service reductions in Madrid will be higher fares. But it is a happy day for Iberia, with now only one major pesky rival (Ryanair) remaining.
image: Eric Salard / Flickr (CC 2.0)