Details of the first direct transatlantic flights from Cork to the US will be unveiled today, with special one-way introductory offers of €69 expected, writes Eoin English of the Irish Examiner.
Low-fares giant Norwegian refused to comment ahead of today’s announcement.
However, in a historic day for Cork Airport, Bjorn Kjos, the chief executive officer of Norwegian, is due at the airport this morning to announce the launch by its Irish subsidiary, Norwegian Air International (NAI), of a year-round three-flights-a-week service from Cork to TF Green Airport in Providence, New England, south of Boston.
Tickets for the service, due to launch in July, are expected to go on sale immediately. A limited number of the ultra-low fares will be released initially but regular fares are expected to be priced at a few hundred euro.
Mr Kjos’s announcement is expected to include details of new NAI routes to the US from Dublin and Shannon airports too, with Dublin expected to get up to 12 flights a week to airports in New England and New York.
He is also expected to confirm NAI’s intention to launch a Cork to New York service next year, flying into Stewart International Airport — 100km north of Manhattan.
Securing direct, scheduled transatlantic flights from Cork Airport has been a high-level strategic goal of airport management, as well as for business and tourism groups in the south, for decades. Despite intense political and union opposition in the US, the American authorities finally sanctioned NAI’s foreign carrier permit late last year after a protracted two-and-a-half year process.
The authorities signed off on NAI’s final paperwork last Friday.
The airline has always maintained that its plans to put on US flights from Ireland are in accordance with the EU-US Open Skies agreement.
Wow Air is also due to launch flights this May from Cork, via Reykjavik, to eight major cities across the US and Canada.
The combination of the arrival of two lost-cost operators flying from Cork to the US is expected to deliver huge benefits to business and tourism sectors in the region.