Norwegian Air to withdraw its service from Northern Ireland

There will be no direct flights from the North to the US or Canada

Once Norwegian Air exits the Northern Ireland market, there will be no direct flights from the North to the US or Canada. Photograph:  Reuters

Once Norwegian Air exits the Northern Ireland market, there will be no direct flights from the North to the US or Canada. Photograph: Reuters

 

Norwegian Air is to withdraw its low-cost flights from the North.

However, it is advising potential customers in Northern Ireland that they “remain well served” by its US flights out of Dublin, Shannon and Cork.

A Norwegian Air spokesman said: “Following a comprehensive review of our services from Belfast in response to customer demand, we have decided to withdraw our routes from Belfast to the New York and Boston areas.”

He said that customers could still book flights between Belfast and the US on Norwegian Air’s website for travel until October 26th, 2018.

After that date the airline is advising Northern Ireland residents to travel to the Republic to fly its routes.

“New York and Boston-Providence remain well served by Norwegian from Dublin, Shannon and Cork with up to 33 weekly departures, giving customers in Northern Ireland an alternative for booking daily affordable flights to the US,” the spokesman said.

Norwegian Air launched its Northern Ireland flights between Belfast International Airport and Stewart International Airport, outside New York, and TF Green Airport, outside of Boston in July 2017.

Flight schedule

A spokeswoman for Belfast International Airport (BIA) said it was “extremely disappointed” by Norwegian Air’s decision to exit the Northern Ireland market but blamed its flight schedule for the lack of support for the service in the North.

According to BIA, there is strong demand for flights between Northern Ireland and the US and Canada, particularly focused on both New York and Toronto as gateways.

But once Norwegian Air exits the Northern Ireland market, there will be no direct flights from the North to the US or Canada.

“It is an unsustainable situation that two million people in our catchment area should be left with no option but to undertake lengthy and unnecessary journeys to Dublin in order to fly across the Atlantic,” the BIA spokeswoman said.

Latest figures from Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) show that over the past five years its transatlantic passenger numbers have risen by 82 per cent – up from 1.7 million in 2012 to 3.5 million last year.

According to DAA, its transatlantic traffic has grown by a further 17 per cent this year, mainly because of the addition of three new routes and also thanks to the expansions of some existing services. Dublin Airport is currently the sixth largest airport in Europe for transatlantic flights.