Norwegian Air has again opened the door to a flight between Cork and New York, saying testing on its new aircraft to see its capabilities will begin shortly.
Flights between Cork Airport and the US East Coast were originally slated to involve both TF Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island, and Stewart International Airport in New York state.
However, initial projections for the new Boeing 737 Max aircraft suggested a flight from Cork to New York would just fall short of the required capabilities.
Cork to Rhode Island began in July but aircraft leaving Dublin, Shannon and Belfast are able to fly to New York.
Cork Airport’s short runway has historically been the reason why most aircraft cannot fly transatlantic routes.
Norwegian has calculated that a Boeing 737 Max can take off and land in Providence with the amount of fuel and passengers onboard but falls short of making it to Stewart, around 250km further inland.
Norwegian chief Bjørn Kjos said in April that testing on the new aircraft would tell if they could make it or not, saying actual flights sometimes outperformed the capabilities in testing projections.
A Norwegian spokesman said testing will begin “shortly” after Norwegian takes delivery of six new Boeing 737 Max aircraft this year to be used on the new transatlantic routes between the US East Coast and Ireland, Edinburgh and Bergen in Norway.
“We took delivery of two of the new Max aircraft earlier in the summer which are already in operation on selected transatlantic routes from Dublin and Edinburgh. We expect the other four Max aircraft to go into transatlantic operations from the other airports shortly,” he said.
He added: “As we’ve said before, the door remains open to a potential Cork-New York route once the Max aircraft is fully in operation at all airports and we learn more about the aircraft’s operational capabilities.”
He said Cork flights to Providence had been performing well so far. “In the meantime, our focus at Cork is on the airport’s first ever transatlantic routes which have made a strong start over the summer, with thousands of tickets sold and many flights full,” he said.
Icelandic carrier Wow Air began flights from Cork to the US via Reykjavik in May. However, Wow Air will suspend the route from October, blaming poor uptake.
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