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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 11 December, 2019
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Flights between Cork and the US will start at €65 one-way

Norwegian Air International and Wow Air are both expected to start transatlantic flights from Cork to nine US cities in 2017.

Norwegian Air file photo.
Norwegian Air file photo.
Image: Shutterstock

THE MANAGING DIRECTOR of Cork Airport has said that newly announced flights between Cork Airport and the US will start at €65 one-way

On Friday, the US Department of Transportation finally granted a transatlantic permit to Norwegian Air International (NAI), ending the logjam over transatlantic flights from Cork.

The airline will initially launch a Cork to Boston service in July at the promotional €69 (€65) fare, and also plan a route to New York.

Icelandic low-cost airline Wow Air will begin also their transatlantic routes from Cork to nine US cities in May, meanwhile. Wow’s fares – which exclude a bag – begin at €149.99 one-way for flights to New York, Boston and Washginton.

Both airlines are have previously signalled their ambition to be the “Ryanair” of transatlantic travel, which may reduce prices across the industry for flights between Europe and the US.

Niall MacCarthy, managing diector of Cork Airport, told TheJournal.ie:

Low-cost transatlantic travel is coming to Cork and general prices are heading south.

MacCarthy added that Norwegian’s licence includes a 61-day cooling off period, which means tickets are not expected to go on sale before February.

In a separate statement to TheJournal.ie, Norwegian spokesman Anders Lindstrom said:

These are routes that will launch with $69 [€65] fares and have average return fares of $300 to $350 [€326], including taxes.

Norwegian’s fares include a bag, Linstrom added.

“There’s a 61-day cooling-off period, but we’re extremely confident that at the end of the cooling-off period the licence will be forthcoming,” MacCarthy told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today.

We’re delighted that another low-cost airline, Wow Air, who already have a licence, are committed to flying from Cork to nine north American destinations, starting next May.

“They’re in the low-cost sector, they’re starting at €65 one way, they stop off for an hour and a half in Reykjavik in Iceland, en route.

So we’ll have two transatlantic airlines next year in Cork Airport, making us Ireland’s newest transatlantic airport.

shutterstock_452364775 The interior of a Norwegian Air Boeing 737. Source: Shutterstock

Battle

MacCarthy said everyone involved were taken by surprise by the granting of the licence on Friday evening.

“We were all expecting an 18-month legal battle, so it took us all by surprise. It was a pleasant surprise,” he added.

“We need to get the 61-day cooling period over, we need to get tickets on sale, and then the flights will start. So we’re expecting them to start probably the first week in July.

“Tickets on sale early in the new year – that’s the good news. The reason there was such a battle is that the legacy airlines and the unions wanted to keep low-cost out of the transatlantic sector, and that’s why we fought so hard to get the licence.

So we’re predicting the the fares will be in the €150 one-way mark, including your bag, and we think there will be some lead-in special offers around the €69 mark [return], to get the route primed.

“So they’re going to be the lowest fares [for] transatlantic in Ireland, without a doubt.

Asked whether it will be a “little cramped in steerage”, MacCarthy said: “I don’t think so, no – it’ll be 186-seater, a Boeing 737 MAX.

It is aimed at the budget end of the economy, or of the market, but it will be fine, it will be a brand new aircraft with good service.

MacCarthy added that he was hopeful NAI would recruit in Cork, due to the presence of the Atlantic Flight School at Cork Airport. As part of the licence conditions, the airline confirmed it will only recruit in the EU or the US.

Transport Minister Shane Ross and business groups on Leeside have welcomed the new routes, which will further buoy passenger figures at Cork Airport, which is operated by the Dublin Airport Authority.

Cork Airport is expected to see 8% growth this year compared to 2015.

Read: Transatlantic flights from Cork finally get the go-ahead

Read: Your crash course in… Norwegian Air’s Irish problem

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