Published on July 2nd, 2017 | by Gabriel Desmond0
Norwegian start Cork – USA route
Norwegian Air International launching of Cork’s first scheduled direct flight to the US on 1st July was marked by speeches and celebration. Tributes were paid to the persistent efforts of airport, business and political leaders over three years in eventually securing US government approval. A reception catered for by Cork International Hotel and entertainment with a distinctive American flavour completed the festive bill.
The host of civic and business leaders included Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cork’s Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald, Declan Hurley Mayor of County Cork, Tore Jenssen CEO of Norwegian Air International and Niall McCarthy, Managing Director Cork Airport, all introduced by Kevin Cullinane, Head of Communication at Cork Airport.
Boeing 737-800 LN-NII positioned in from Stockholm and departed to Providence, Rhode Island with Capt Ivar Tysseland and crew and 133 passengers, a less than capacity number pending the delivery of additional Boeing MAX 8 aircraft. Passengers on the inaugural flight included Prof. Patrick G O’Shea, President University College Cork as well as three dedicated Cork Airport enthusiasts, Trevor Hussey, Brian Sherman and Frank O’Mahony. Flights will operate year round with three returns weekly in summer reducing to two in winter. Norwegian’s fare structure claims low basic fare with free wifi plus separately purchased seat allocation, meals and baggage. Reservations are said to be at a very promising level. The departing flight was given a water cannon sendoff by Cork Airport’s Fire and Rescue Service. Norwegian have stated that a route to Stewart, new York State, an 80-minute ride from New Your City, will follow.
The establishment of direct flight to the USA has long been on the wish list of people in the southern region. Minister Coveney noted that the greater Cork area has the highest per capita level of US investment in the country and that the commercial success of this venture will depend on the support the route is given by business and people there.
The Norwegian flight to Providence is scheduled to take just over seven hours and will arrive into the US in early evening. The airport handles over 3.5 million passengers per year and is served by train to both Providence (15 mins) and Boston which is less than 90 minutes away.
While all the celebrations were taking place in Cork, Dublin Airport also played host to its first transatlantic service with Norwegian as Boeing 737-800, LN-NHA, operated the IBK1763 flight to Stewart International in upstate New York. Stewart International is located 60 miles north of Manhattan. A former military base, it now shares both military with the Air National Guard and Civilian Airliners. Jet Blue is the largest operator with nearly 50% of the travelling passengers carried in the year to May 2017.