Up, up and away for Cork airport’s historic take-off

They’d waited 56 years to secure a direct transatlantic service to the US, so a 30-minute delay wasn’t going to spoil the party at Cork Airport.

After three years of intense lobbying, which went all the way to the Oval Office, in the end, it took about 30-seconds for Norwegian Air International flight D81821 — a Boeing 737-800 with around 150 people on board — to power down runway 35 and take off for TF Green Airport in Providence, about 90-minutes south of Boston, on Saturday.

It was a routine take-off for pilots Klaus Schulz and Ivar Tysseland, who lifted off close to taxiway Charlie, at 4.51pm.

But for those on board, and for airport management, politicians, tourism and business representatives inside the terminal, there was a genuine sense of history-in-the-making.

Twins Kaitlin and Aaron O’Regan, 15, who were born in Boston and moved to Cork with their mother when they were five, were among the first to check-in.

“We go over (to Boston) nearly every year for a holiday and to visit family, and this year we’re going over for seven weeks,” Kaitlin said.

“We usually travel to Shannon and then to Boston but this time we get to go from Cork which is a huge deal for us to be able to go from home-to-home. I feel it will be beyond successful and I will most certainly be travelling from Cork to Boston every chance I get.”

Ciara Judge, 19, from Kinsale, Co Cork, who was a winner of the 2013 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, travels to the US regularly, and used the flight to meet colleagues at the MIT Launch entrepreneurship incubator where she worked last year and to hear pitches from some of this year’s teams.

She heads to New York today to celebrate July 4th with friends, then to a cousin’s wedding in California, before she flies back to the east coast for meetings in Washington DC and New York.

“The flight was extremely event-free and made good time,” she said.

“Despite a slightly long wait at border security at Providence airport, the transport links to Boston and New York city were very good so I could certainly see myself using the service very often in the future. I travel to and from America increasingly often so I cannot describe how useful it will be to me to be able to hop on a plane in Cork and end up stateside,” she said.

Another passenger said Providence is a very manageable airport with easy-to-reach trains and car hire — all within walking distance of the airport complex.

“Overall, it was a very good experience,” he said.

READ MORE: Transatlantic flights ‘here to stay’ vows boss

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