Crystal Ski Starts New Charter Flight to Oslo
17th December 2023 | James Cove, Norway
Last modified on December 29th, 2023
The inaugural flight took off on Sunday as the UK’s largest ski operator prepares to take more people skiing in Norway. PlanetSKI was on board & looks at what Norway has to offer.
The flight has been laid on to meet extra demand from people wanting to ski in Norway.
Crystal Ski has seen significant growth in numbers of people from the UK heading to the Scandinavian country in recent years and wants to meet this interest.
The first flight from London, Gatwick to Oslo, Gardermoen was a Boeing 737-800, that takes 200 passengers.
It seems there is plenty of early season demand for Norway from UK skiers and snowboarders, with some on the inaugural flight heading to the ski resorts of Norefjell, Geilo and Beitostolen.
I am heading to Norefjell which is a short drive from Oslo.
The crew posed for photos for PlanetSKI to mark the occasion.
And then Capt Daniel D’Amico and first officer Jack Lawson headed to the cockpit to complete the pre-flight checks.
“It is much colder in Norway than here in London and it is expected to be -2 when we land in Olso,” said Capt D’Amico to passengers.
“It’s a flight time of just under 2-hours and we hope you are looking forward to your ski holiday in Norway”.
The new flight to Oslo comes with the support of Norway – Home of Skiing.
The deal was sealed back in February 2023 on the slopes of Geilo.
“We’ve seen increased demand for the Scandinavian region and Norway has so much to offer guests,” said Crystal Ski Holidays’ managing director, Chris Logan.
“Providing skiers and snowboarders with more choice when it comes to booking their ski holiday is hugely important to us and we can’t wait to welcome them back to create more special memories.”
One of the growing attractions of Norway is its snow record.
It has a long winter and is more snow-sure than many resorts in the Alps.
I travelled there last February when snow was in short supply in other parts of Europe.
Trevor de Villiers from Norway-Home of Skiing was with me on Sunday’s first flight and he left the UK in festive mood with the TUI staff at Gatwick.
Regular PlanetSKI readers will know I am rather a fan of Norway and visit each winter.
It is always nice to approach seeing snow on the ground.
One hour and 52 minutes after take-off we descended into Oslo.
The inaugural flight landed bang-on-time and without a hitch.
There was a welcoming committee for this inaugural flight – Norwegian-style.
Norwegians are a very welcoming nation, with the British held in special regard.
A plane landing every weekend at Olso and bringing several hundred skiers and snowboarders is worth the airport and resorts celebrating.
Norway-Home of Skiing offers holidays to a number of Norwegian resorts:
Last winter PlanetSKI visited Voss, Myrkdalen and Norfjell on a rail safari.
This year the resort of Gausta has been added to the portfolio and we plan to be visiting later in the winter:
The key aspect for Crystal Ski is whether the new flight be a success with more people heading to Norway.
First signs are encouraging, with the numbers speaking for themselves.
There were just a handful of spare seats on the inaugural flight and this weekend, for the Xmas break, a 787 Dreamliner has been drafted in due to demand.
It is the largest plane in the TUI fleet and seats 345 passengers.
The charter to Oslo continues to the end of February with the last outbound flight on 25th February 2024.
The flight on half-term week of 11th February 2024 is already full and a new plane has been added to the schedule.
The second plane is already 42% full.
There is a 3-year contract for the route and, given the early success, expectations are that it will continue.
“I cannot tell you how proud I feel right now,” said Trevor de Villiers to me as the guests gathered to head to their coaches after the flight.
“So much work has gone into making this happen and the first flight has gone without hitch with hundreds of people off to the ski resorts in Norway to have a fabulous pre-Xmas holiday.”
“I can only see it going from strength to strength.”
I’m heading to the ski resort of Norfjell that is about an hour and a half from Oslo, so look out for some PlanetSKI updates later in the week.
It seems the inaugural flight from London, Gatwick to Oslo, Gardermoenon on Sunday 17th December 2023 has been something of a success.
See here for more about Norway – Home of Skiing.