Norwegian’s low cost transatlantic expansion continues today with the start of flights from Edinburgh airport.

The first flight to the US is due to depart from Edinburgh at 5.15pm, commencing a daily service to Stewart International airport in New York.

The budget carrier has opened a new pilot and cabin crew base at the Scottish airport, creating more than 130 jobs. The Edinburgh base joins Gatwick to become Norwegian’s second UK base as the carrier continues its rapid growth.

Norwegian will also launch its first services to Providence, Rhode Island tomorrow and the UK’s only direct service to Hartford, Connecticut on Saturday.

Fares start at £138 one-way for the Stewart route.

Boeing 737 aircraft will serve the routes until Norwegian receives new 737 MAX aircraft this summer.

Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said: “Consumers have responded positively to our affordable fares on both sides of the Atlantic which is stimulating increased tourism and business travel to and from Scotland.

“Not only is Norwegian transforming transatlantic travel by connecting smaller cities in huge catchment areas but we’re also unlocking affordable direct high quality travel to a new market of travellers.

“As such, Edinburgh is important to our future UK growth and it will allow us to create more Scottish jobs at Norwegian which in turn benefits the workforce of Scotland’s tourism industry.”

Scottish minister for international sevelopment and Europe, Alasdair Allan, said: “These low-cost, long-haul services will open up more international markets for Scottish businesses and help support our tourism industry by giving visitors even more options when it comes to getting a taste of the fantastic experiences on offer in Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole.

“This new partnership will also see planes based in Edinburgh, creating jobs at the airport and helping the local economy. This investment is a huge vote of confidence in Scotland’s aviation sector.”

VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead added: “Scotland is more connected than ever before through transport and digital channels, giving it a louder voice within key markets. The United States is our biggest international market, and last year we saw an 18% increase in the number of visitors from North America along with a 40% increase in spend.

“Not only is it exciting to see Norwegian add direct flights between three new destinations in the US and Edinburgh, but these low-cost transatlantic fares also come at a time when the exchange rate is already making Scotland a very appealing destination and this will undoubtedly generate a great deal more interest among US travellers.”