Cork Airport announces flights to Boston and New York with Norwegian Air
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.
“Cork Airport has long sought a service to the United States and we are thrilled that our customers will be able to fly direct from Cork to Boston next year, and that we’ll have flights to New York in 2017,” said its Managing Director Niall MacCarthy.
Boston flights will be operated four to five times weekly.
“The addition of direct year-round connectivity to North America has long been a target for Cork Airport," MacCarthy said, adding that the news was a major strategic boost for the 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.
The airline currently flies from Dublin to Oslo and Helsinki.
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."
A Cork-Barcelona service is also planned from May 2016.
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.
The airline plans to operate its new Cork transatlantic services with a narrow bodied Boeing 737-800 aircraft and the new Boeing 737MAX when it becomes available.
"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 new transatlantic services follows several other route announcements - including direct CityJet flights to London City Airport, scheduled to start on October 1.
New Aer Lingus flights to Dusseldorf will begin next summer.
News of the Norwegian flights comes as Ryanair Chairman David Bonderman insisted the airline had "no interest" in flying transatlantic routes.
Fine Gael TD for Cork South Central, Jerry Buttimer, has said that the announcement is great news for the city and county and will be a huge boost for tourism and business throughout the Munster region.
He sadi: "I would like to congratulate everyone at Cork Airport and commend them for securing these new routes. The announcement is a great vote of confidence in the airport and proof that Government policy to create the right conditions to encourage new air services is working.
"More than 2 million passengers travel through Cork Airport each year. Today’s news of Cork’s new transatlantic services comes in the wake of several other positive route announcements from Cork Airport in recent weeks.
"CityJet will launch a new 18 times per week service to London City Airport on October 1 and Aer Lingus will launch a new Cork-Dusseldorf route next summer. Aer Lingus has also increased frequency on its Cork Tenerife route for this winter and Flybe has doubled capacity on its new Cardiff service.
“This is a good day for Cork and very welcome news for people across the city and county.”