Airline Norwegian to open a new pilot base in Dublin
Scandinavian airline Norwegian, which flies to two US routes from Belfast, has confirmed it's to open a new pilot base in Dublin to support its growing international operations.
The base will initially include about 40 pilots, but Norwegian is also exploring options for further pilot and cabin crew positions at the base next summer.
Norwegian's Ireland-based unit - Norwegian Air International (NAI) - already has a head office at Dublin Airport that employs more than 80 people. NAI is headed by Tore Jenssen.
From Belfast International, it flies to TF Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island, which is about 60 miles from Boston, and Stewart International in upstate New York - around 70 miles from Manhattan. The routes have been operating since July.
Norwegian said that it has already started recruiting for Boeing 737 pilots. It's holding the first of a number of pilot roadshows at the Clayton Hotel at Dublin Airport today.
Norwegian launched flights between the Republic and United States during the summer.
It serves secondary airports in the US, flying from Dublin and Shannon to Stewart and TF Green. Norwegian also flies from Cork to Providence.
"With a number of transatlantic routes recently launched from Ireland and Belfast, and plans for continued expansion in future, opening a new base at Dublin Airport is an important step to support our growing international operations," said Bjorn Erik Barman-Jenssen, Norwegian Air Resources chief execuitve.
He said that there had been "lots of interest" from pilots in joining the airline, and that the Dublin base will offer "exciting opportunities".
Norwegian launched its services from Ireland to the United States with Boeing 737-800 jets, but started taking delivery during the summer of 737 Max aircraft.
Two senior Irish pilots - a former Ryanair flyer and an ex-Aer Lingus pilot - flew the first Ireland-registered Norwegian Max jet delivered from Seattle in June.
Norwegian Air Shuttle chief executive Bjorn Kjos said that the Max jet would "pave the way for a totally new concept" in air travel.
Norwegian will have 144 aircraft in its fleet by the end of this year, including 21 Dreamliners. It currently has 110 Max aircraft on order.
For its Dublin base, Norwegian is looking for pilots who hold a Boeing 737 operational certificate to serve flights from Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Belfast.