Cork Airport is preparing for its first transatlantic service, to Boston by Norwegian Air, which will commence in summer 2017. Kevin Cullinane, Head of Communications, Cork Airport, told Irish Travel Trade News: “All of the US airports being considered by Norwegian will have a CBP facility in place for summer 2017 operations.”
Shannon and Dublin Airports already have US CBP facilities and Norwegian has already confirmed that talks with Shannon Airport are underway. In a statement issued on Tuesday 6th December, the airline said: “Norwegian is planning new transatlantic routes from Cork and Shannon Airport to serve the Boston and New York areas on the east coast of America. The first transatlantic flights from Cork will begin in summer 2017 – full details will be announced early in 2017 with flights then going on sale. The routes will be operated by crew from two new bases in the USA, as well as NAI’s European crew from European bases.
“Bjorn Kjos, Chief Executive, said: “We welcome the long overdue news that our Irish subsidiary Norwegian Air International (NAI) has been granted a foreign carrier permit by the US Department of Transportation.
“I would like to offer my sincere thanks for the significant and invaluable support we have received from across Ireland over the past three years – the efforts by the Irish Government, key politicians and authorities, Cork Airport and many others have all played a crucial role in the US authorities finally approving our application.
“Norwegian already flies from several other European cities to Boston with fares from just £135 one way, or £250 return – similar routes from Ireland are expected to match these prices and, with the new aircraft Norwegian is taking delivery of next year, fares are set to be even lower.
“Norwegian’s immediate focus is on finalising plans for the first ever transatlantic flights from Cork and also Shannon. However, with US approvals now in place and Norwegian’s huge aircraft order, work is also underway to look at further opportunities for expansion in Ireland.”
These could include not only transatlantic flights from Cork, Shannon and Dublin to New York and Boston but also feeder services to/from Cork, Shannon and Dublin from/to Barcelona (plans for a Cork-Barcelona service have already been announced), London Gatwick and Oslo.
Founded in 1993, Norwegian is Europe’s fourth and the world’s sixth largest low-cost airline with 450+ routes to 150+ destinations in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Thailand, the Caribbean, and the USA. Passenger numbers in 2016 will be around 30 million.
The fleet of around 120 aircraft (B737-300s, B737-800s and B787-8 Dreamliners) has an average age of 3.6 years, one of the youngest fleets in the world, and there are 260+ aircraft on order.