US airport Stewart likely Norwegian Air destination
Airline’s planned flights from Cork and Shannon may land in New York state facility
Norwegian Air looks likely to make Stewart airport in New York its destination for Irish flights. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Norwegian intends launching services to New York and Boston from Cork and Shannon this summer and has confirmed that it will establish a base at Stewart International Airport.
While the carrier has said that it is too early to confirm which routes it will serve from Stewart, reports suggest that it is likely to be earmarked for flights to Ireland, that could include Cork, Shannon and Belfast.
Norwegian has been in talks with a number of secondary airports close to New York and Boston since its Irish subsidiary got permission to fly to the US last December.
“A number of airports are being looked at while we finalise our plans but smaller airports in the US present us with an opportunity to offer some truly ground-breaking fares to passengers in Ireland and the US,” said a Norwegian spokesman.
Tickets for the Ireland-US flights are expected to go on sale shortly. Some could be priced as low as €59, although the bulk are likely to cost more than this.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey owns Stewart, which is about 60 miles from Manhattan. This week it emerged that the airport intends renewing an incentive scheme designed to support new domestic and international flights.
The scheme offers discounts and credits over two years. It had been due to expire on March 31st but could be extended for another three years, which would safely allow Norwegian to qualify should it launch flights from there this year.
Hartford, Connecticut was another airport said to be on Norwegian’s radar. Aer Lingus already flies there, but the Irish carrier is more focused on attracting travellers who want to travel on to Europe via its hub at Dublin.
Norwegian Air International is an Irish-registered subsidiary of Norwegian Air Shuttle, which wants to use the company to launch low-cost long-haul flights from Europe to the US and Asia.
Its application for a US foreign air carrier’s permit met opposition from unions and rival airlines, which claimed that the airline intended hiring crews on contracts from Asian companies in a bid to skirt labour protections.
While Norwegian has denied this and committed to hiring staff under either EU or US laws, opposition is continuing. US president Donald Trump met pilot union representatives this week to discuss the permit, granted under the previous administration on December 2nd.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer argued recently that the US had a “huge” economic interest in Norwegian, as it planned to employ US crew and was buying large numbers of Boeing craft, which are manufactured in Seattle, in Washington State.