Cork and Shannon Airports have welcomed the US Transportation Department’s decision, announced on Friday 2nd November, to grant flying rights to Norwegian Air International from Ireland, a decision that had been under review by the Department for almost three years.
The order finalised a provisional ruling that the Department made in April and came two days after the European Commission formally filed for arbitration over Norwegian’s request, claiming that the Department had taken too long to rule on the application and was breaching the Open Skies agreement between the EU and the USA.
Anders Lindstrom, Norwegian Air, said: “This decision gives Norwegian the chance to open up a lot more routes from the USA to Europe and onward to other destinations. The company can now start US-Ireland service as previously planned.” Norwegian plans to launch a new Cork-Boston service, intends to operate a Cork-New York route subsequently, and is also in discussions on US routes from Shannon.
Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director, Cork Airport said: “This is momentous news for air travellers on both sides of the Atlantic. It’s great news for Open Skies and for consumer choice and competition. I firmly believe this will permanently transform the transatlantic market in Ireland and further afield for the better. Norwegian will do for transatlantic travel what Ryanair has done for European travel, bringing lower fares, increased competition and growth to the overall market.
“There has been a tremendous amount of work undertaken to secure this route on both sides of the Atlantic and we must acknowledge the huge support received from political, business and local government stakeholders in Ireland, the EU and US. The final stages of the process have seen a significant contribution and support from the public too and I want to thank everyone who helped make this happen.
“These flights will help grow inbound tourism, give Cork Airport’s passengers greater choice, attract more investment to the region and improve social and cultural ties between Ireland and the USA. We expect Boston bound flights to take off in coming months with New York flights beginning soon afterwards.
“Securing a transatlantic service for Ireland’s second largest airport has been an aspiration of ours for some time and Norwegian Air’s service will be welcomed by business and leisure travellers throughout the region.”
A statement from Shannon Airport said: “We welcome the decision by the US Department of Transport to award a foreign air carrier permit to Norwegian Air International Ltd. It is good news for Ireland and connectivity to the regions in particular. Further to our extensive discussions with the airline, we look forward to welcoming air services with Norwegian in due course.”