Norwegian airline cleared for Ireland-US takeoff

Cantillon: FAA go-ahead means Scandinavian-owned carrier can start low-cost transatlantic flights

Norwegian Air International will fly from Cork and Shannon to secondary airports in the US, and prices could be as low as €59.  Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Norwegian Air International will fly from Cork and Shannon to secondary airports in the US, and prices could be as low as €59. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

 

It is beginning to look like there is no going back for Norwegian Air International’s plans to fly from Cork and Shannon to the US. Over the weekend, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US regulator, cleared the Scandinavian-owned, Irish-registered airline, meaning that it now has both a foreign carrier’s permit from the Department of Transportation and authorisation from the body that oversees safety.

Some reports say that its Boston services will land at TF Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island, about 112km south of the Massachusetts city.

Ticket prices could be as low as €59, although it is unlikely that the airline will sell large numbers of seats at this rate. It is also thought that it will launch a Cork-Boston service first, following this with flights from Shannon, Belfast and possibly Dublin. It could begin New York services next year.

Low-cost services

Its parent, Norwegian Air Shuttle, wants to use the Irish-registered and based subsidiary to launch low-cost services connecting European cities with the US and Asia, mimicking the Ryanair model, but applying it to long-haul flights rather than shorter distances.

In much the same way as Ryanair did when it began to expand seriously in the 1990s, Norwegian intends flying to secondary airports in the US from Europe, as these will help keep its costs down.

Last week it confirmed that it has chosen Stewart Airport, about 60km north of New York city, as a base. Some reports say that its Boston services will land at TF Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island, about 112km south of the Massachusetts city.

Norwegian has not confirmed that it will be using either Stewart or Rhode Island for its Irish routes, but it has said that it will be flying to secondary airports. Whether or not these will prove attractive to Irish travellers remains to be seen. But it looks like it will be “game on” soon as a new competitor enters the transatlantic market.

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