Norwegian Airlines has flown 250,000 people from Dublin to US
Carrier announces milestone a day after row over its decision to cut Belfast services to US
Norwegian last year launched services to Stewart International Airport in New York state and Providence, Rhode Island. Photograph: Johan Nilsson/TT News Agency/Reuters
The news comes following a war of words over the airline’s decision to axe flights between Belfast International Airport and the same destinations earlier this week.
The Scandinavian carrier last year launched flights to Stewart International Airport in New York state and Providence, Rhode Island, from several Irish cities.
The airline began flying the routes in July 2017. It said the numbers made it one of Dublin Airport’s “leading transatlantic carriers”.
Norwegian announced the milestone a day after a prolonged row over its decision to cut its twice weekly Belfast services following a “review of customer demand”.
Belfast International accused the airline of “moronically” channelling customers from the region to Dublin, from where Norwegian flew twice daily to the US.
The airport said it was “unsustainable” that two million people in its catchment should be forced to journey to Dublin to fly across the Atlantic.
However, several people responded online that Dublin was easily accessible from the North and that the Dublin Airport’s facilities, including US customs pre-clearance, made the longer journey worthwhile.
A number criticised delays and security queues at Belfast International and urged the airport to compete with its larger rival.
Commenting on the Dublin figures, Matthew Wood, Norwegian’s senior vice-president, long-haul commercial, said carrying 250,000 passengers on its flights from there highlighted the “huge demand” for low-cost transatlantic flights.
Vincent Harrison, Dublin Airport managing director, called it a “remarkable success story”.
Norwegian recently announced plans to begin flying to Hamilton Airport in eastern Canada from Dublin next year.
Hamilton has a number of connections to other destinations in the North American country and is close to Toronto and Niagara Falls.
The carrier launched cheap transatlantic flights to Stewart and Providence from Belfast, Cork, Dublin and Shannon last year.
It will end its Belfast services on October 26th. It advised customers from the North that it served Stewart and Providence airports from Dublin, Cork and Shannon.
Norwegian has already announced it is cutting its Cork-Providence service back to summer only from all year round. That move also followed a review of customer demand.
The carrier said at the weekend that it was cutting its Edinburgh-US service, blaming Britain’s high passenger taxes, which Norwegian said were £75 sterling per head.