Calls for senior Cork politicians to 'stand up for Cork Airport' as transatlantic route axed 

Calls for senior Cork politicians to 'stand up for Cork Airport' as transatlantic route axed 
A Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Norwegian Air landing at Cork Airport.

CORK AIRPORT says it in talks with a number of airlines about starting a transatlantic service in the wake of Norwegian’s decision to end all transatlantic flights from Cork, Shannon, and Dublin airports from September 15.

The airline said the routes are no longer commercially viable after their Boeing 737 Max aircraft were grounded.

In a statement, Cork Airport said they were disappointed with the news.

“We will redouble our efforts to secure a new transatlantic carrier for Cork to operate from Summer 2021, and we are in active discussions with a number of carriers in this regard,” said Cork Airport managing director, Niall MacCarthy.

Former Lord Mayor Mick Finn called on senior politicians from Cork to stand up for Cork and its airport.

“It’s very disappointing, if a bit predictable, that Cork has lost out again in terms of its fledgling transatlantic service,” Mr Finn said.

“That will put pressure on Cork’s emergence as Ireland’s fastest-growing airport, and ultimately threaten the city and county’s status as a counterbalance to Dublin.

“We need our senior minister and TDs here to stand up for Cork and ensure that our airport is not further constrained by a lack of vision by those at national level who should really be protecting it.”

Norwegian announced in 2015 that it planned to begin transatlantic flights between Cork and Boston. There was significant opposition in the US over concerns about the introduction of a low-cost transatlantic service. However, permission was eventually granted, with Norwegian commencing three weekly services between Cork and Providence, Rhode Island in summer 2017, with other services taking off from Shannon and Dublin.

Transatlantic flights had long been a goal of Cork Airport and the arrival of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft had made it a reality. However, in early 2018, Norwegian said they would only operate the Cork to Providence flight during the summer months of that year. The decision put in doubt any hope that Norwegian would add a Cork to New York flight.

Problems were compounded with the grounding of the Boeing 737 aircraft across the world following two fatal crashes. It occurred just weeks before the transatlantic flights were to resume from Cork for the summer. All passengers already booked on summer flights were instead put on buses to Dublin to get their flights to the US.

In a statement yesterday, Norwegian confirmed that all flights between Ireland and the US were now being halted.

“Since March, we have tirelessly sought to minimise the impact on our customers by hiring (wetleasing) replacement aircraft to operate services between Ireland and North America,” spokesperson Matthew Wood said.

“However, as the return to service date for the 737 MAX remains uncertain, this solution is unsustainable." 

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