MORE than 31,000 people travelled on the transatlantic service between Cork and Boston in its first year, with more than 60% being inbound visitors from the US to Leeside.
A year on from its launch, the three-times-weekly Norwegian Airlines direct transatlantic service between Cork and Providence, near Boston, has been hailed as a positive for inbound tourism from the US - despite the fact the service will be axed for the coming winter months.
Low-fares company Norwegian, decided after a review of its network, to remove the winter flights to Providence just six months after they were launched.
The service now operates from March to the end of October.
"Since take-off on the 1st of July last year, Cork Airport has seen over 31,000 passengers travel between Cork and the US on the three times weekly route," a spokesperson for Cork Airport said.
Despite the removal of winter flights, Cork Airport’s Managing Director, Niall MacCarthy said the route has had the two-fold effect of providing a low-cost gateway from the US from the south of Ireland as well as making access to the Cork, Kerry and Waterford region much easier for US tourists who previously only had the option of arriving from Shannon or Dublin.
“The past year has been really good for direct Cork USA connectivity. Norwegian’s Cork to Boston Providence route has proved incredibly popular for both leisure and business travellers in both directions between the south of Ireland and the east coast of America,” said Mr MacCarthy.
“Irish people now have affordable direct access from Cork Airport to popular holiday US destinations in New England, such as Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. This service has also given US holidaymakers a significantly easier arrival into the south of Ireland, perfect for those who wish to experience the beauty the region has to offer,” he added.
The Cork to Boston Providence route links Cork Airport with TF Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island, located an hour from Boston and less than two hours from the famed Cape Cod.
Cork Airport has recorded a passenger growth of 3.5% in the first six months of 2018.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s business aviation contribution to the economy last year has been estimated at an output of €666m last year.
Cork MEP Deirdre Clune, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism, said it is vital that Cork Airport focuses on increasing and maintaining connectivity for travellers all year round.