Norwegian is to start its first low-cost long-haul service from Gatwick to Asia with flights to Singapore.

Four flights a week will run from September 28 with fares starting at £179 one-way.

The Singapore route will be operated four times a week by a 344-seat Boeing 787 Dreamliner with economy and premium cabins.

Premium fares lead in at £699 one-way, including lounge access at Gatwick, seating with more than a metre of legroom, complimentary meal service and a baggage allowance.

The expansion into Asia follows the announcement of new transatlantic routes to Seattle and Denver. The airline also reported a 53% growth in long-haul traffic last month.

Norwegian chief executive Bjorn Kjos said: “Our transatlantic flights have shown the huge demand for affordable long-haul travel, so we are delighted to expand into new markets and offer our first route to Asia from the UK.

“Travel should be affordable for all so adding Singapore to our growing UK network will give passengers even more choice for affordable, quality travel to a range of global destinations.

“The UK is at the heart of Norwegian’s ambitious plans for growth so it is a significant moment not only to launch this exciting new route, but also for it to be the first long-haul route to take to the skies with our new ‘Norwegian UK’ subsidiary.”

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate added: “These new direct flights between two of the world’s top three financial centres will be welcome news for business travellers, particularly at a time when global trade is increasingly important for the UK economy.

“Singapore is also a key tourist destination and gateway hub for long-haul travellers looking to venture further into Southeast Asia and Australia.

“I’m delighted that Norwegian has responded to this demand and added such a premier destination to its growing long haul network from Gatwick.

“Crucially, Norwegian continues to make important destinations like Singapore much more affordable and easier to reach for a wider range of passengers.

“As our 50-strong world route network expands, so too does Gatwick’s reputation on the global stage as a strong, dependable option for international travel.”

Lee Seow Hiang, CEO of Changi Airport Group, said: “We are delighted to welcome Norwegian to Changi’s portfolio of airlines in September; it will enhance options for Changi airport’s passengers as well as attract more UK visitors to Singapore.

“With changing consumer preferences and an improvement in aircraft technology, low-cost carriers have taken the opportunity to expand into the long-haul market.

“We will continue to work with our airline partners to exploit other such opportunities to grow their operations at Changi.”