Norwegian ends 'unsustainable' transatlantic flights from Ireland

Norwegian ends 'unsustainable' transatlantic flights from Ireland

Norwegian has confirmed it is stopping its transatlantic flights to Ireland from next month.

The airline has blamed the global ground of 737MAX aircraft for the decision.

“Since March, we have tirelessly sought to minimize the impact on our customers by hiring, so called wetleasing, replacement aircraft to operate services between North America and Ireland," said Matthew Robert Wood, one of the airline's senior vice presidents.

"However, as the return to service date for the 737 MAX remains uncertain, this solution is unsustainable."

The airline said it would continue to fly 46 non-stop routes between the US and Europe using Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft but Ireland will lose out.

"As the airline moves from growth to profitability, we have conducted a comprehensive review of our transatlantic operations between North America and Ireland and concluded that these routes are no longer commercially viable considering the circumstances," said Matthew Wood.

Compounded by the global grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and the continued uncertainty of its return to service, this has led us to make the difficult decision to discontinue all six routes from U.S. and Canada to Dublin, Cork and Shannon from September 16.

The airline said customers booked on affected flights have been contacted and offered the option of either being rerouted onto other Norwegian flights or a full refund. Customers from the U.S. can travel to Dublin via Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm.

Non-stop services to Cork and Shannon ended in March with the grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft and passengers were rerouted to Dublin flights out of both Providence and Stewart.

The airline said the service to Dublin from the two US cities and, also Hamilton, Canada, continued, but will now end with the last flight from the U.S. – both Providence and Stewart – on September 14, arriving in Dublin on September 15.

Management at Cork Airport expressed their disappointment at the axing of the route, but said negotiations are underway with other airlines to secure a new transatlantic route.

The Norwegian flights to Providence had been the first-ever transatlantic flights from the airport.

“We are disappointed that Norwegian is ceasing transatlantic operations from Ireland following much-publicised aircraft issues arising from the grounding of the Boeing Max aircraft,” said managing director Niall MacCarthy.

“Cork Airport is the fastest growing airport on the island of Ireland this year with eight new UK and continental European routes. We expect further growth next year on short-haul services to and from Cork.

"We will redouble our efforts to secure a new transatlantic carrier for Cork to operate from summer 2021 and we are in active discussions with a number of carriers in this regard,” he added.

Additional reporting by Denise O'Donoghue

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