Low fares airlines Ryanair and Norwegian have said talks are ongoing regarding a tie-up that would allow passengers transfer on connecting flights between Europe and the US.
Norwegian and Ryanair rival EasyJet announced a new booking platform to allow customers to use its website to book long-haul flights with other airlines, EasyJet said.
EasyJet said that customers would be able to buy other airlines’ flights on EasyJet.com, and said it was the first global airline connections’ service by a European low fares airline.
WestJet and Norwegian will offer flights to North and South America, as well as Singapore, from Gatwick.
EasyJet said it was in talks with carriers in Asia about joining the scheme, which would expand into other airports in Europe.
A spokesman for Norwegian said a partnership with EasyJet was “an obvious and natural fit” with Gatwick integral to both airlines.
“Norwegian have openly said we have spoken to a number of airlines, including both EasyJet and Ryanair, about co-operating on smooth, affordable transfers between long- and short-haul flights.
"We will continue to explore opportunities with other airlines in future to offer passengers the best possible options for connecting flights,” he said.
A spokesman for Ryanair said “discussions regarding connecting flights with other airlines are continuing” when asked about a potential partnership with Norwegian.
Shannon Airport announced Air Canada will fly direct to Toronto four days a week from June next year.
Managing director of Shannon Airport, Andrew Murphy said: “The new service will undoubtedly provide a major boost for Irish tourism and create new trade opportunities.
“Canadian tourists are high spenders and businesses along the Wild Atlantic Way in particular will benefit as the route will deliver significant Canadian visitors directly to their doorstep.”
There are over 4.4 million Canadians of Irish descent, making the Irish among the largest ethnic groups in Canada. The last time Air Canada operated a route from Shannon was in 2007.
Canadian ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers said the direct route was a chance to enhance business, trade and tourism links between the two countries.
Ryanair said it would offer a Shannon to Barcelona route next summer. Shannon head of aviation development Declan Power said Ryanair expected to carry 20,000 passengers on the route.
The new routes come as CSO figures showed passengers at Shannon had fallen 5% from January to June.
* Additional reporting Reuters
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