Dara Murphy meets ambassador in lift-off effort for Cork-US flights

The minister for european affairs is due to meet the US ambassador to the EU in Brussels today, as part of intense diplomatic efforts to secure the first transatlantic flights from Cork this summer.

The minister, Dara Murphy, said he would stress to Anthony Gardner, America’s highest-ranking diplomat in the EU, the need for the principles of fair trade and commerce to be upheld, as the US department of transportation (DoT) continues assessing an application from Norwegian Air International (NAI), a subsidiary of low-cost giant Norwegian, for a foreign-carrier permit.

NAI says despite an unprecedented two-year delay assessing its application, it is still committed to launching its Cork-to-Boston service in May, and a Cork-to-New York service next year.

“I will be highlighting the urgency around the need for the US DoT to make a decision on NAI’s foreign-carrier permit application, and also highlighting the spirit of the ‘open skies’ policy,” said Mr Murphy.

Today’s meeting is the latest diplomatic effort to secure a licence from the US DoT, which would clear the way for NAI to launch the Cork-to-Boston service in May.

The Irish Examiner has also learnt that the DoT has, in recent months, granted foreign-carrier permits to Lufthansa’s low-cost subsidiary, Eurowings, to LCC SunExpress, a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, and to Spanish airline Evelop.

The DoT has granted such rights to at least 64 European airlines since the ‘open skies’ agreement was signed in 2007. The average wait for applications was 53 days.

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