NORWEGIAN has confirmed its intent to launch a new transatlantic service from Shannon Airport.
The confirmation comes after the US Department of Transport decision to award a foreign air carrier permit to Norwegian last weekend.
In a statement this Tuesday, the low-cost airline outlined the next steps in its plans to launch transatlantic routes from Cork and Shannon Airport through its Irish subsidiary Norwegian Air International, and said it “plans to operate daily transatlantic flights between Ireland and the US East Coast”.
The routes will be operated by crew from two new bases in the US, as well as NAI’s European crew from European bases, with CEO Bjorn Kjos praising the “huge support received from across Ireland during the airline’s long-running application with the US authorities.
Norwegian said it was “finalising details on routes, flight schedules and fares” and expects to be in a position to announce specifics in 2017, but confirmed that it was “planning new transatlantic routes from Cork and Shannon Airport to serve the Boston and New York areas on the east coast of America.
The airline said its “immediate focus is on finalising plans for the first ever transatlantic flights from Cork and also Shannon.
It said it was committed to “making long-haul travel affordable and accessible to all” and that “the new routes will combine low-cost fares with a high-quality service on-board state-of-the-art new aircraft”.
Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said: “We welcome the long overdue news that our Irish subsidiary Norwegian Air International (NAI) has been granted a foreign carrier permit by the US Department of Transportation.
“I would like to offer my sincere thanks for the significant and invaluable support we have received from across Ireland over the past three years.
“With final approvals now in place we have the green light to finalise our exciting plans for new low-cost transatlantic routes from Ireland. We are delighted to offer these long-awaited services which will create huge business, leisure and tourism opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Detailed planning work started immediately after having received the permit, with the first flights planned to take off next summer. I look forward to confirming full details in early 2017, but I can promise passengers that our flights from Cork and Shannon will be focused on making transatlantic travel affordable for all, with low-cost fares and a high-quality service.”
Shannon had welcomed the US decision to award the permit, saying it was “good news for Ireland and connectivity to the regions in particular.
“Further to our extensive discussions with the airline we look forward to welcoming air services with Norwegian in due course,” said a spokesperson after the approval was given.