Cork Airport announces transatlantic flights to Boston and New York
'This is only the beginning' - Norwegian
Cork Airport has announced its first ever scheduled transatlantic flights to Boston and New York.
The new routes, to be operated under Norwegian’s Irish subsidiary, Norwegian Air International (NAI), will begin with a Boston service in May 2016.
Direct flights from Cork to New York will follow in 2017, the airport said.
“The addition of direct year-round connectivity to North America has long been a target for Cork Airport," said its Managing Director Niall MacCarthy, adding that the news was a major strategic boost for the region.
Norwegian plans to operate its Cork transatlantic services with a narrow bodied Boeing 737-800 and the new Boeing 737MAX when it becomes available, it says.
The 737-800s working the Cork routes will be configured to feature 146 economy and 12 business class seats, Independent Travel has learned.
Boston flights will be operated four to five times weekly, and a Cork-Barcelona service is also planned from May 2016, according to the airport.
Seán Sherlock, Minister for Trade Promotion at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, dubbed the routes a "game-changer" for the Munster region.
Norwegian is the second-largest airline in Scandinavia.
Last year it launched the UK’s only low-cost long-haul flights with routes from London Gatwick to four US destinations.
Lead-in prices are not currently available for the Cork routes, but May 2016 flights from London Gatwick to Boston start from €242.10 (outbound) and €174.50 (return), according to its website (norwegian.com) this afternoon.
Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said:
“We are delighted to offer a long-awaited service from the US to Cork and the southern parts of Ireland which will create huge business, leisure and tourism opportunities."
Norwegian is currently in talks with the US Department of Transportation to gain formal approval for the Cork routes, and to open the way for further expansion.
"This is only the beginning of our plans for new routes in Ireland," Kjos said.
"This is fantastic news for Cork Airport and the entire region," said Kevin Toland, Chief Executive of daa, which operates Dublin and Cork Airports.
Cork is Ireland's second-busiest airport, and though passenger numbers have fallen heavily since its peak, it expects to return to growth within weeks.
News of the transatlantic services follows several other route announcements - including direct CityJet flights to London City Airport from October 1.
New Aer Lingus flights to Dusseldorf will begin next summer.
News of the Norwegian flights comes as Ryanair Chairman David Bonderman insisted his airline had "no interest" in flying transatlantic routes.