Norwegian Air Plane BThere is a new low-cost airline that has everyone in the industry talking. Norwegian Air is now the second largest airline in Scandinavia and the third largest low-cost carrier in Europe, carrying over 20 million passengers last year.

But what has everyone talking is the fact that both Airline Ratings and the respected Sky Trax World Airline Awards have named Norwegian Europe’s Best low-cost carrier. The current fleet of 85 aircraft has an average age of only 4.8 years. It is, however, Norwegian’s future growth plans that have attracted attention on both sides of the Atlantic. The company now has 275 undelivered new aircraft on firm order, an amazing check of new business, all of it going to Boeing.

Norwegian will be entering the US market and is now staffing offices in both New York and Ft. Lauderdale. In the next twelve months, Norwegian’s CEO Bjorn Kjos, will be operating 14 routes between the United States and Europe.

Industry reviewers have lauded the quality of Norwegian’s crew, the youth of its aircraft, better seating than its low-cost competitors (are you listening Ryan Air?) and a certain Scandinavian style. The airline wants to bring innovative service at the lowest possible cost to the US market using new Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Will it all work. Up to this point the answer has been yes. But let’s see how the Norwegians fare with US labor laws, union pressures, slot availability, and strong competitors who may be willing to match fares until they fly away. Keep an eye on Norwegian and you may have a glimpse into the future of long-haul airline com[petition for the next decade.