daa, the company which operates Dublin and Cork airports, has welcomed the decision by Norwegian Air to launch two new transatlantic services from Cork Airport.
Norwegian has said it plans to begin operating a direct year round Cork-Boston service in May 2016 and that it also intends to launch a Cork-New York service in 2017. The airline will also operate a new Cork-Barcelona service from next May.
“This is fantastic news for Cork Airport and for the entire region,” said daa Chief Executive Kevin Toland. “It will provide the first direct connection from Cork to the United States, which will be welcomed by both business and leisure travellers and I’m sure these new transatlantic services will bring additional tourist visitors to the Ireland south region,” he added.
Norwegian Chief Executive Bjorn Kjos said Norwegian was “leading the way in offering affordable transatlantic travel and with the new generation aircraft we have on order, we now have exciting plans to offer low-cost flights from Cork to Boston in 2016 and Cork to New York in 2017”.
The new routes, which will be operated by Norwegian’s Irish subsidiary Norwegian Air International (NAI) are as follows:
– A Cork-Boston service planned for May 2016 with 4-5 flights per week
– A Cork-New York service planned for 2017
– A Cork-Barcelona service planned from May 2016 with 4-5 flights per week.
“This is only the beginning of our plans for new routes in Ireland but our expansion relies on the US Department of Transportation (DoT) finally approving Norwegian Air International’s application for a foreign carrier permit,” Mr Kjos added.
Norwegian is Europe’s third largest low-cost airline, operating more than 400 routes to 130 destinations in Europe, North America, the Middle East and the Caribbean. It plans to operate its new Cork transatlantic services with a narrow bodied Boeing 737-800 aircraft and the new Boeing 737MAX when it comes on stream.
“Our team in Cork has been working hard to secure a transatlantic service for many years and it is a great achievement to have won these new direct services to Boston and New York for Cork and the region,” according to Mr Toland.
“This decision from Norwegian follows positive short-haul route announcements from CityJet, Aer Lingus and flybe in recent weeks. The combination of these new services will deliver passenger growth at Cork for next year, which has been one of our key goals.”
Norwegian is currently in talks with the US Department of Transportation in relation to gaining formal approval for its new Cork transatlantic routes.
The Cork-Boston route will be Norwegian’s first long-haul service from Ireland, as the airline currently operates short-haul services from Dublin to Oslo and Helsinki.
Norwegian carried 24 million passengers last year and has been shifting its focus from short-haul to long-haul operations in recent years.
It currently operates a fleet of 100 aircraft and has orders for a further 250 new aircraft, including 100 new Boeing 737MAX aircraft.