Norwegian Airlines International is poised to be the Ryanair of the Atlantic
By Irish Echo Staff
There was a time when Norwegians landing in Ireland from Viking longboats were never going to receive the traditional hundred thousand welcomes.
But the arrival of Norwegian-owned aircraft bearing visitors from the United States will be an entirely different story.
And this will happen soon after the Trump administration confirmed a previous Obama administration clearance for Norwegian Air International to operate low fare flights from the Boston and New York areas to Shannon and Cork.
The airports used are likely to be smaller regional ones.
The initial service will be from Boston to Cork starting in May or June of this year.
A service out of the New York area is expected to follow next year.
The U.S. Department of Transportation granted the Irish-based Norwegian Air International a foreign carrier’s permit in early December, this after a protracted process, RTE reported today.
The green light was despite opposition from over a hundred members of Congress and the U.S. Airline Pilots Association who are concerned over workplace practices in the airline.
White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, said that it was his understanding that fifty percent of the Norwegian crews were going to be American-based and that they were going to be flying Boeing planes on the transatlantic routes.
The potential for job creation in the U.S. as a result of the Norwegian plan is clearly a winner as far as the White House is concerned.
The potential tourism boost for Ireland is hugely significant as flights out of Boston and New York are expected to be later augmented by services from other U.S. cities.
“We’re pleased with the U.S. Press Secretary’s correct understanding of Norwegian and Norwegian Air International,” said Norwegian spokesman, Stuart Buss.
“No other foreign airline invests more in the American economy or creates more American jobs than Norwegian.
“We also operate an all-Boeing fleet of more than 120 Boeing aircraft, with another 120 on order generating further economic benefits and jobs in the U.S.”
The Norwegian move is now expected to spark a price war over the Atlantic and offers Cork its long-awaited first transatlantic link, the Irish Independent reported.
Cork Airport managing director, Niall MacCarthy, hailed the decision as “a great win for Open Skies,” a reference to the international treaty allowing airlines from different countries to operate routes that do not necessarily begin or end in their countries of origin.
That treaty is strongly backed by the European Union, but concerns over employment practices in Norwegian resulted in a delayed U.S. clearance.
That clearance came before Christmas and was actually announced by Taoiseach Enda Kenny at a reception in the Irish Consulate during a visit to New York.
Mr. Kenny had asked President Obama to intervene so as to clear the path for the NAI service, and the response from the Obama White was positive.
It is now positive from the Trump White House too.