New transatlantic flight service from Cork to US starts Saturday
Norwegian Air to use smaller aircraft in maiden service from Cork to Rhode Island
According to aviation enthusiast, Cork City Cllr Tom O’Driscoll, the new transatlantic service, which follows a long political battle to get the US Dept of Transport to provide Norwegian Air with a foreign carrier permit, has huge potential and will help 56 year old Cork Airport develop significantly.
“We had a charter service to Orlando for a year in 1996 but this is the first scheduled transatlantic flight so it’s a major milestone in the airport’s history - the stakeholders have had a dream of transatlantic travel from Cork going way back and it’s great that it’s come to fruition.
“Some people said it would never happen but thankfully it is happening now. I remember putting a motion before Cork City Council in 1992 calling for the Shannon Stopover to be amended to allow flights from Cork but in fairness, there have been a lot of people working on it since then.”
According to Cllr O’Driscoll, Norwegian Air’s decision to use smaller Boeing aircraft with 150-200 seats rather than larger planes with 300- 400 seats gives the Cork service a much greater chance of proving viable and he expects the business to grow as new routes develop.
“A low cost carrier on a transatlantic route is a new concept. Unfortunately Aer Lingus never showed any interest in operating a route out of Cork so we had to look to an outside carrier but now that Norwegian have come on board, they deserve the full support of everyone in Cork.
“We are the second city and the numbers are there for people from Cork travelling to the US via London or Dublin or Amsterdam so if the new service can get these people to switch their allegiance to Cork then the new service, which is three times a week, will work,” he said.
Cllr O’Driscoll said the initial services will operate to Providence Airport on Rhode Island but he was confident that Norwegian Air would sort out some technical issues and soon be offering flights from Cork to New York and Boston which would be a huge boost to Cork and surrounding counties.
Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said the company was delighted to finally launch the new services but it would not have been possible without huge support across Ireland over the past three years and the new services would offer lower fares to allow as many Irish people as possible to fly to the US.
“We also look forward to welcoming thousands of American travellers into Ireland over the coming weeks, ensuring our new routes also offer a huge boost to Irish tourism, business and hospitality,” said Mr Kjos.
Cork Airport managing director Niall MacCarthy said the Norwegian service marked a new chapter in the history of the airport which would bring jobs, revenue and tourism growth directly to business in the south of Ireland.
The new Norwegian Air service from Cork to Providence at 4.20pm on Saturday will be preceded by a new service from Dublin to Stewart International Airport at 2.30pm on Saturday and will be followed by the inaugural Norwegian Air flight to Shannon on Sunday also to Stewart International.