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Niall MacCarthy, managing director, Cork Airport (left) with Tore Jansen, CEO, Norwegian AirInternational, at the launch of the ‘game-changing’ direct route from Cork to Providence, last summer.  Picture: Brian Lougheed
Niall MacCarthy, managing director, Cork Airport (left) with Tore Jansen, CEO, Norwegian AirInternational, at the launch of the ‘game-changing’ direct route from Cork to Providence, last summer.  Picture: Brian Lougheed
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Direct Cork to New York flight are still on the table

DIRECT flights between Cork and New York are still on the table, Cork Airport officials have confirmed.

A strong performance on the flights from Cork to Boston has led to growing optimism that the long-mooted New York route will follow shortly.

Airport officials have confirmed that the Norwegian airlines service between Cork and Rhode Island performed ‘very strongly’ in its first seven months of operation, with more than 17,000 people using the flights since they started last July.

Two-thirds of these were inbound passengers from the US, confirming the strength of the local tourism industry.

The historic launch was mooted as a ‘game-changer’ for Cork’s aviation history, opening up the south and south-west of Ireland to the American north-east.

Cork Airport officials now have their sights firmly set on more connections to the United States and, potentially, Canada.

“The airline has been very happy with the performance to date,” said Kevin Cullinane, communications manager at Cork Airport.

“It has gotten off to a good start and the challenge is to ensure that people continue to support it. You only get one chance to make a favourable first impression and Norwegian can see how serious we are about this.”

A strong summer performance was followed by busy periods around Thanksgiving and Christmas, Mr Cullinane added.

He said: “There is pent-up demand there, it’s not just hype. What we want to make sure is that this is the first of a series of transatlantic services from Cork, with New York the obvious second choice.”

“We are hoping that the yield on this service so far will give Norwegian an appetite for more. We haven’t even had a full year of service yet and we need to keep the strong performance going to ensure that we realise these ambitions,” added Mr Cullinane.

He appealed to people to be patient as no exact timeframe can be given yet for the introduction of more Transatlantic flights, but there was optimism that they will happen eventually. A spokesperson for Norwegian confirmed that the route has started strongly and that the airline will explore further opportunities in Cork.

However, they added that it is too early to say when a new route will happen as they are still assessing the success of the Providence flights.

They said: “We still have ambitions to launch future new routes from Cork, but our current focus is on continuing to deliver excellent value to Cork residents seeking high-quality flights to the USA.”