Barack Obama gives backing to Cork-US flights

The head of the Dublin Airport Authority has welcomed US President Barack Obama’s backing for a transatlantic service from Cork Airport — but also expressed concern about any possible delays at the American side.

Barack Obama gives backing to Cork-US flights

The DAA chief executive, Kevin Toland, made his comments after the issue of the proposed transatlantic service was raised in talks between Mr Obama and Taoiseach Enda Kenny during the annual St Patrick’s Day meeting in Washington, DC.

Mr Obama said there was no political impediment to the move.

Mr Toland said: “Norwegian International Airlines is fully committed to commencing new transatlantic flights from Cork this year, and I am now urging our politicians to continue to maintain pressure on US administration officials to take action to grant the foreign carrier permit to Norwegian to allow the airline progress plans for its Cork-Boston service without delay.

“While I am grateful for today’s advancement, I am deeply concerned that any further administrative delays on the US side could seriously damage this business.”

Meanwhile, the Cork Chamber of Commerce said there was now no reason why the transatlantic flights from Cork could not go ahead and urged all involved to speed up the process.

Speaking in Washington, DC, Conor Healy, the chief executive of Cork Chamber, said Mr Obama’s confirmation that there was no political opposition to approving the Cork-Boston route was “encouraging”.

“It is imperative that the granting of a foreign carrier permit is progressed without further delay with continued Irish political support,” said Mr Healy.

“Cork Chamber now calls on transport secretary [Anthony] Foxx to expedite the process, which has been ongoing for more than two years and is in conflict with the spirit of the EU-US Open Skies agreement.”

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