Norwegian Air will operate three flights a week to New York / John Moore/Getty

The low-cost flights from Norwegian Air took off today

It’s just a hop over the Atlantic, but flying to New York can take quite a toll on your bank balance.

However, starting from today, passengers can fly one-way from London Gatwick to New York from just £149.

Norwegian Air has is offering low-cost flights to the Big Apple, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale in what is being marketed as a “long distance revolution”.

The airline's chief executive, Bjørn Kos, said: “At Norwegian, we believe that everyone should be able to afford to fly. In order to compete in the global airline industry you need to adapt to changes and keep a constant focus on cost.

“Norwegian has a low-cost model, meaning a lean administration, brand new and fuel-efficient aircraft and efficient operations. We fly direct routes with high passenger demand and choose centrally located airports such at Gatwick that share our mindset.”

The move has been met with controversy, particularly in the US, where Norwegian Air has been accused of side-stepping international legislation by operating from a Dublin base.

The airline said in a statement that the main reason for choosing Ireland was “access to future traffic rights to and from the EU”.

“It is important to stress that Ireland was not chosen because the country has specific rules and regulations that allow the use of American or Asian crew, like some politicians and unions have claimed,” the statement added.

The airline says that costs have been driven down by the fuel efficiency of its new Dreamliner 787 model, which has fewer seats to fill, thereby making long haul routes more economically viable. There will be three flights a week to New York, as well as twice-weekly flights to both Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale

Stewart Wingate, CEO of London Gatwick, said: “Norwegian’s launch of low cost services to the US clearly demonstrates the game-changing nature of the Dreamliner. The new generation of long haul aircraft have fewer seats and are therefore less reliant on transfer passengers. This is yet another example of how the importance of transfer traffic will continue to decline.

“Times are changing and the Airports Commission must make decisions based on emerging trends and the way modern travellers want to fly. A two-runway Gatwick would meet the needs of a rapidly changing aviation market, which looks very different today than it did even ten years ago. All of the signs point to Gatwick being the obvious choice for expansion.”