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.”