Thursday 22 March 2018

Norwegian to hire 40 pilots for Dublin growth

Expansion of transatlantic routes sees new base opened in capital

Fearghal O'Connor

Low-cost transatlantic carrier Norwegian has begun hiring Irish flight crew to operate out of a greatly expanded base at Dublin Airport. The airline has already expanded hugely in the Irish market this year but is set to grow further in the increasingly competitive transatlantic market.

Last week, Icelandic carrier Wow Air became the latest airline to launch new US-bound connections from the capital, to America's midwest via Reykjavik. But the Norwegian plan could see a host of new jobs for flight crew and engineers at Dublin airport.

"With a range of new transatlantic routes recently launched from Ireland and Belfast, and plans for continued expansion in future, Norwegian is opening a new operational base at Dublin Airport to support our growing operations from Irish airports," said a Norwegian spokesman.

"Recruitment is now under way for pilot positions at the new base, with opportunities for both internal and external candidates.

"Our plans for a Dublin base are at an early stage but we are planning for the new base to begin operating later this year, with around 40 pilots initially. We will also be exploring options for further pilot positions and potentially cabin crew positions at the base next summer."

Earlier this year, Norwegian invested $65m in its Irish subsidiary as it prepared to launch transatlantic flights from Dublin, Cork and Shannon. That brought total investment by the Nordic carrier in its Irish subsidiary, Norwegian Air International, to over $500m since it was set up in 2013.

The investment came after it was awarded a foreign carrier permit allowing it to operate from Ireland, after a three-year battle with American trade unions and transport authorities.

In July, Norwegian launched a series of new transatlantic routes from Ireland to the US east coast. It now flies a total of 19 weekly transatlantic flights from Cork, Shannon and Dublin, as well as five weekly services from Belfast into a number of smaller US airports, close to Boston and New York.

Norwegian is the European launch customer for the new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft which it uses on its Irish transatlantic routes. As part of a much bigger order of 100 aircraft, Norwegian took delivery of six of the new jets this year.

Two of the new aircraft delivered earlier this summer are currently in operation on selected transatlantic routes from Dublin and Edinburgh, with four more expected to go into transatlantic operations from other Irish airports shortly, said a spokesman.

The increased capacity on flights out of Ireland looks set to increase pressure on airlines such as Aer Lingus, which has also greatly expanded its transatlantic product from Dublin.

A report last week suggested that transatlantic fares had fallen close to 10pc because of the huge number of seats now available for bargain hunters looking for cheap flights to the US.

Sunday Indo Business

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