‘SUPPLY will be matched with demand’ - that's the warning to Cork passengers following confirmation that transatlantic flights between Cork and US will be no longer operate during winter months.
Last night, low-fares airline Norwegian said it would no longer operate flights to Boston during the winter months and was planning to resume the schedule for March to October only from next year.
Cork Airport Head of Communications Kevin Cullinane said:
“Norwegian plans to operate a summer-only service to Boston Providence next year. Norwegian has decided to suspend some routes during the quieter winter season due to lower demand.”
Asked if there was any risk to the summer flights, Mr Cullinane added: “As long as people continue to support the service. It is an economic proposition for the airline - supply will be matched with demand.
“Demand is much stronger in the summer months. Sales have been buoyant for this summer and hopefully, that will continue but the winter months have proven to be more challenging.”
Cork Chamber expressed their dismay but vowed to continue to support the route, which began to much fanfare in July 2017.
"Cork Chamber is severely disappointed at this decision by Norwegian which comes very early in the development of this new route,” CEO Conor Healy said.
“With sufficient time to stabilise in the market, it would continue to develop year-round, yet the withdrawal of the winter schedule now damages that growth and stabilisation opportunity.
“Collectively in Cork, we will work to make the route a success and hopefully we can see this decision reversed over time.”
Ray Kelleher, Group Sales Director of Trigon Hotels, which include Cork Airport Hotel, Cork International Hotel and The Metropole Hotel, echoed the comments, saying: “So disappointed but now it’s time make sure that the summer service continues for the coming years and support Cork Airport and Norwegian.”
Politicians also reacted, with cork County Mayor Declan Hurley describing it as ‘very disappointing news for the Cork Region’.
Labour TD Sean Sherlock expressed concern over the US airline’s long-term dedication to flights from Cork.
“I hope that Norwegian remain committed to Cork airport and that this is not a play to switch to another airport down the line,” he told the Evening Echo.
When the flights were first announced more than a year ago, Labour’s Alan Kelly expressed concerns that the Cork flights were ‘a Trojan horse’ for Norwegian to get flights into Dublin.
But last night Cork Airport said the airline was still also looking at the possibility of other transatlantic flights.
“Norwegian will continue to assess the possibility of a future Cork-New York route. The current focus in the short term is to support the performance of the Cork-Providence route which has been positively received by Cork residents and American travellers alike since its launch.”
17,000 passengers used the Norwegian service last year, two-thirds of whom were inbound travellers, amounting to just 1% of business at Cork Airport.