San Juan – Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo and London Gatwick (Norwegian Airlines)
There were a lack of European routes to San Juan with only two services from Frankfurt and Madrid. The UK was the largest unserved market with 28,000 passengers using indirect connections through US hub airports (adding four to 10 hours to the journey). Scandinavia is a smaller market of 7,000 passengers but ASM realised it could be stimulated by a new low cost service.
Norwegian was considering a list of new destinations so the challenge was to convince the airline that San Juan was the best choice for a new route.
San Juan’s European routes were trebled when it won four new services from Norwegian. Direct services to Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo and London started in November 2015.
The London Gatwick Airport flight is twice weekly (Wednesday and Saturday) and there are weekly services to Copenhagen (Friday, returning via St Croix), Stockholm Arlanda (Tuesday) and Oslo Gardermoen (Sunday).
The flights are operated by a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner with 291 seats – 32 in premium economy and 259 in economy.
Aerostar Airport Holdings LLC appointed ASM to build the case for a much-needed new service from San Juan to Europe. Detailed traffic forecasts were prepared and it quickly became apparent that the market from Europe to Puerto Rico was underserved. The forecasts showed that over 170,000 passengers a year travel to the island but 81% do so indirectly, mainly through the USA. The figures also showed that San Juan is the best connected destination in the Caribbean – the market between San Juan and the rest of the region is over 810,000 passengers.
ASM worked closely with Puerto Rico Tourism Company and Aerostar Airport Holdings to build a detailed business case for new services. This is the preferred approach of Norwegian; it was one of the first airlines to coin the phrase “The Golden Triangle” of support for tourism authorities and airports that work together in partnership.
The strength of San Juan’s indirect market flows, the potential stimulation of the markets and the proactive stance of local stakeholders meant that Norwegian decided to launch not just one but four new services – a fantastic boost to San Juan’s network and the wider Puerto Rican economy.
“It is always important to have the airport authority supported by the tourism authority and when both entities work together, it gives us confidence that the route will be well supported. We know ASM always encourages tourism authorities and airports to work closely together and they always provide a detailed market study behind any opportunity.”
Madeleine Rieber Waldjac