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Norwegian to begin long-haul flights

OSLO, Norway (AP) -- Norwegian Air Shuttle says it will start its first long-haul flights to New York and Bangkok next May from Oslo and Stockholm.

The Oslo-based budget airline, which mainly competes with ailing regional Scandinavian airline SAS, operates in Europe but also flies to some destinations in North Africa and the Middle East. It has a fleet of 66 planes flying to 115 destinations. Last year, 15.7 million passengers flew Norwegian, up from 13 million in 2010.

Norwegian is one of Europe's fastest-growing airlines. It posted a near 30 percent increase in third-quarter net profit to 628 million kroner ($110 million) with a 13 percent growth in passengers. Revenue in the period was up at 4.2 billion kroner from 3.4 billion kroner a year earlier.