Cork viewed as possible Ryanair transatlantic hub in link up with Norwegian

Cork viewed as possible Ryanair transatlantic hub in link up with Norwegian

CORK Airport may be used by Ryanair as a stopover as the budget airline eyes up a transatlantic offering.

It is understood that Ryanair is in discussions with fellow lost-cost airline Norwegian to offer a budget, long-distance offering, which may start as early as this summer.

While the routes have yet to be finalised, it is understood that the flights will use airports such as Cork, Barcelona and Edinburgh as stopovers to keep costs down, connecting the UK and Ireland to regional US airports, such as TF Green in Providence and Stewart in New York.

The move has been described as a 'natural fit' by Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos, who recently launched his airline's own transatlantic offering from Cork airport.

The first direct flights to the US are set to leave Cork on July 1, connecting the city to TF Green airport in Providence, roughly 60 miles from downtown Boston and just minutes from a thriving Irish community.

The flights proved popular at launch, with some 1,500 seats booked in the first 24 hours after the route was announced.

If the Ryanair-Norwegian team up gets the go-ahead, it will answer a long-held ambition of Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary to offer cheap connections to the US.

A spokesperson for the airline said, "Given we have the largest route network in Europe, it is a logical move and a very attractive proposition for long-haul carriers."

Flights will be booked via the website of either airline, with luggage transferred between aircraft for customers to ensure a smooth transition, according to airline chiefs.

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