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Norwegian Air unveils Belfast to New York and Boston flights from £69 taking-off July

Norwegian Air has announced a new low-cost service between Belfast and the US starting at just £69.

Norwegian will operate three flights a-week to Stewart International Airport in Orange County, New York, 70 miles north of Manhattan.

It will also add a second direct service for the summer with two flights a-week to Green Airport, Providence, which is a just ninety minutes away from Boston, the capital of Massachusetts.

Fares start at £69 and can be booked from today (Thursday).

It comes six weeks after the United Airlines service to Newark ended.

Graham Keddie, managing director, Belfast International Airport, said: “We have been working with Norwegian and government agencies to get this project across the line.

“It was vitally important for Northern Ireland to re-connect with the United States of America. Without a direct air link, the job of attracting new investment and expanding Northern Ireland tourism would be a lot harder.

“Now, Norwegian, which has one of the youngest fleets in the business, has stepped up to the mark. There is an established market and re-instating a New York service was the main objective. Securing Boston was the icing on the cake.

“Both symbolically and from an economic standpoint, the New York link is the best possible boost for Northern Ireland. We’re set to see a reduced Corporation Tax rate to help boost our inward investment, and it would have been terribly undermined if we didn’t have a direct service.

“Boston has close links with Belfast, and is an immense untapped tourism market for the region. Americans are in the top five of tourism spenders and if we can expand access, then our impressive visitor attractions, hotels and restaurants will prosper.

“This is a great day for the airport, Northern Ireland, indeed, the entire northern half of the island of Ireland. The Norwegian fare structure will be unbeatable, and we expect that that will prove hugely attractive to people living across the border who are tired of paying top dollar for trans-Atlantic services.

“Many people have worked to deliver this outcome which comes at a minimal cost to the public purse in terms of marketing support and route promotion. I’m grateful to the positive contribution and effort made by Ministers, local MPs and senior officials.”

Norwegian chief executive Bjorn Kjos added: “Norwegian are shaking up transatlantic travel once again with ground-breaking fares and never before seen routes.

"We are delighted to announce our first ever flights from Belfast and to ensure the city maintains its crucial transatlantic links. The cost of transatlantic travel has been too high for too long so by connecting Northern Ireland with smaller US airports, we can offer some truly affordable fares, allowing as many people as possible to fly."

Earlier this month, the Belfast Telegraph revealed the airline was in talks with the carrier to begin operations to replace the United Airlines New York service.

Last month, the last United Airlines flight from the city to New York took to the skies.

The firm was offered a £9m bailout package to retain the route, but the deal eventually fell through.

United said the Newark route was not sustainable.

Belfast International Airport has been searching for a replacement since then.

The Boston Hearald reports that the service will begin in July carrying 189 passengers at a time.

“If this is a success, we will bring on more flights,” said Lars Sande, senior vice president of sales.

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