Cork Airport is getting a €100,000 marketing boost after celebrating another string of route announcements yesterday.
And passengers could fly transatlantic from Cork next year from as little as €310 return, it has been reported.
The news emerged yesterday as CityJet announced two new routes from Cork to Nantes and La Rochelle in France from next summer and as Aer Lingus announced increased capacity on its Cork links to Paris, Barcelona, Palma and Faro next summer.
The airline announcements will add some 2,300 seats each week to the airport’s network.
Cork County Council has now moved to sanction a €100,000 marketing boost for the airport.
County Mayor John Paul O’Shea said the airport is on the “crest of a wave” following a series of routes announcements, including the airport’s first transatlantic service announced two weeks ago.
He said the council has agreed to contribute the cash to a co-operative marketing programme with Cork Airport to maximise the opportunity for inbound tourism arising out of the new announcements.
“This significant commitment of funding from Cork County Council’s Economic Development Fund aims to maximise the return for the entire Cork region,” he said.
“This is an opportunity not to be missed at such a positive time for the future of our airport and region.”
Meanwhile, Norwegian Air chief executive, Bjorn Kjos, whose low-fares airline announced plans last week to launch a new Cork to Boston service next May using an Irish subsidiary, told US media he sees round-trip fares on the route coming in at around $300 to $350.
It would mean passengers flying from Ireland to the US on Cork Airport’s first transatlantic service can expect to be paying around €310 for their tickets, with details on baggage costs yet to be announced.
The rapidly expanding low-fares airline also plans to launch a Cork to New York, and Cork to Barcelona service.
In an interview with the Boston Herald, Mr Kjos said Norwegian Air has a list of potential new nonstop flights from Boston’s Logan Airport should it receive long-awaited US regulatory approval to operate the Boston service through its Irish subsidiary. He said the first new routes likely would be Edinburgh and Birminghamin 2017 or 2018.
Other possible destinations are Bergen and Stavanger in Norway; Gothenburg in Sweden; Aalborg in Denmark; Aberdeen in Scotland; Bremen in Germany; and Bilbao, Spain, he said.
Norwegian Air has ordered 100 fuel-efficient Boeing 737 Max single-aisle aircraft, and Mr Kjos told the Boston Herald: “Our idea is — especially when we get the Max in 2017 — setting up networks from most of the west coast of Europe to Boston.” However, all of the flights hinge on US approval of a permit for Norwegian’s Ireland-based Norwegian Air International subsidiary.
US airlines and labour unions have lobbied against the permit, saying Norwegian is using Ireland as a “flag of convenience” to skirt Norwegian and US labour laws.
But the Irish Aviation Authority says it does not envisage any difficulties with an Irish airline securing the required permits. A decision is expected within a matter of months.
Management at Cork Airport have also moved to dismiss concerns about the logistics of operating transatlantic routes without pre-clearance.
“The lack of customs and border pre-clearance in Cork at present is a non issue,” airport spokesman, Kevin Cullinane said. “Every other airport in Europe apart from Dublin and Shannon operate transatlantic without it.”
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