Norwegian airline aims to please

Norwegian airline, Wideroe, has announced plans to increase flight capacity on routes from Newcastle International to the third largest city in Norway, Stavanger. From March 31 2011, the veteran carrier will add an extra flight between the two airports, increasing the service to a total of four per week, and introduce a new Bombardier Dash aircraft onto the route.

Founded in 1934, Wideroe is the Scandinavian equivalent of the UK’s Air Southwest – a predominantly domestic airline that serves small to mid-sized airports. Norway’s far-flung settlements, such as the frozen archipelago of Longyearbyen, and the port town of Kirkenes, are connected to the Norwegian capital, Oslo, courtesy of Wideroe.

Wideroe, a resident at Newcastle for more than a decade, says that its upcoming expansion in the northeast will double the number of seats available on its Stavanger route, and cut the overall flight time by 25 minutes. The flight holds a unique position in the airline’s schedules being one of just ten routes operated by the airline to travel outside its native Norway.

Sverre Sletten, regional chief at Wideroe, was elated with recent developments. “We’re delighted to be able to bring in these big improvements to our Newcastle service.” Mr. Sletten said that his airline was “confident” that customer demand was high enough to support the capacity boost.

The Newcastle-Stavanger flight currently operates on Mondays, Fridays, and Sundays. However, the March 31 expansion will see an extra daily connection added on Thursdays. Wideroe will also alter the timetable of Monday flights, to give business travellers “a full day at work” before departing for the UK in the evening.

Stavanger, located in south-western Norway, is an archetypical port city, and the banks of central Vaagen Harbour are lined with recreational boats. The settlement is situated close to the Lysefjord, a 26 mile long fjord ringed by huge rocky slopes. The Lysefjord is alleged to be “as deep as the mountains are high”.

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