Norwegian became the only airline to operate flights to both the world’s northernmost and southernmost commercial airports, virtually connecting the Arctic to Antarctica in four flights on a 25-hour long mega-journey. The new service should help Norwegian to promote itself as a global low-cost long-haul airline and its transatlantic operations as the company continues to ramp up its domestic flights within Argentina.
Norwegian launched flights to and from the world’s northernmost airport in Svalbard, Norway, and the world’s southernmost airport in Ushuaia, Argentina, on September 21, 2019. Svalbard is located in the Arctic Circle, about 650 miles from the North Pole, while Ushuaia is known as one of the world’s southernmost cities and the primary cruise gateway to Antarctica. The entire journey from north to south covers 9,800 miles (15,770 kilometers) and takes approximately 25 hours on four flights.
The services include Norwegian’s short-haul flights across Europe and a domestic network in Argentina operated by the airline’s off-shoot Norwegian Air Argentina, which launched operations in October 2018. The key connection point on the trip – London Gatwick (LGW). Norwegian launched the UK’s first low-fare route to South America with a non-stop 14-hour long service from Gatwick to the capital of Argentina in February 2019 as part of its transatlantic flights between the UK, the U.S. and South America (Brazil and Argentina). The airline has been operating long-haul flights at Gatwick since 2014 and has placed the hub at the heart of its transatlantic operations.
Those seeking to travel from pole to pole on this new service would start in Svalbard and travel to Norway’s capital Oslo where they would connect onward to London Gatwick and meet the overnight flight from Gatwick to Buenos Aires. However, there is a long layover in the Argentinian capital as passengers would have to spend an entire day and an overnight stay, if they wished to continue on the final leg of the journey to Ushuaia, which takes off from a different, domestic airport in Buenos Aires (Aeroparque). Three flights on the journey are operated on Boeing 737-800 with the London Gatwick – Buenos Aires leg flown on 787-9 Dreamliner.
Although Norwegian is promoting the potential to book the entire itinerary (for under £400 or €450 one way), it is not actually bookable as one ticket, but rather as three separate itineraries: from Svalbard (LYR) to Oslo (OSL) and then onwards to London Gatwick (LGW); from London to Buenos Aires (EZE); and from Buenos Aires (AEP) to Ushuaia (USH). It would take three days to make the whole journey from the north to south hemispheres and most travelers are probably not likely to reach both of the spots in one trip, which is why Norwegian acknowledges the journey is for the thrill-seeking travelers and aviation enthusiasts.