Cheap flights will strengthen Irish-American relationship

ANYONE old enough to remember rickets, black and white TV and Jimmy O’Dea may also remember that an air ticket to London cost multiples of an average weekly wage and a transatlantic air ticket was on a par with the price of a new Ford Popular. Air travel was not a practical option for the great majority of people.

Mass air travel was a developing industry and State monopolies imposed charges that supported work conditions that made jobs in a national air carrier seem so very enviable. They also allowed people smoke on board the “skyliners” as they were grandiosely described. All is changed, utterly changed.

One of Europe’s largest low-fares airlines yesterday announced transatlantic flights from Dublin, Shannon and Cork for fares that would horrify an Aer Lingus accountant used to the norms of 50 years ago.

Norwegian is just the latest airline to show that airfares need not be eye-wateringly prohibitive. They will offer return tickets for an average of around €300 because they will, as Ryanair often does, use smaller airports on the fringes of major cities. Initially, flights to Boston and New York will be offered but in time, extra routes may be opened.

The links between Ireland and America predate the establishment of the United States. These routes will strengthen that relationship on personal and commercial levels.


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