Cork Airport calls for public support in final push for US flights
Cork Airport is urging the public to register support for a US license for transatlantic routes before May 16.
The US Department of Transportation has tentatively approved Norwegian Air International’s application to fly from Cork to Boston and New York.
US legacy airlines and aviation unions have strongly opposed the low-cost carrier, however. Last month, four US senators introduced a bipartisan bill in an effort to prevent the license on anti-competitive grounds.
"Between now and the deadline for submissions, May 16, we urgently seek the public’s help and support to ensure the permit is approved and that the flights are secured once and for all," said Niall MacCarthy, the airport's Managing Director.
Cork is "within touching distance" of securing its first scheduled transatlantic flights to North America, it says. But opposition is fierce.
Public submissions can be made online here (click 'Comment now').
Norwegian's proposed routes have the support of the EU and Ryanair, among other heavy-hitters, and Taoiseach Enda Kenny discussed them with President Barack Obama on his Washington visit this St. Patrick's Day.
Opponents argue that Norwegian is using an Irish subsidiary and office to bypass EU regulations and reduce labour costs, threatening US jobs.
US Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has said granting the license "would set a dangerous precedent that threatens the jobs of hundreds of thousands of flight attendants, mechanics, pilots, and other airline workers in our country and in Europe."
Norwegian denies the claims, while Cork Airport claims attempts to prevent the new service would be a breach of the 'Open Skies' deal between the EU and US.
If a license is granted, Norwegian hopes to commence flights this August.