Bostonians looking to book flights to Ireland this new year appear to be on the verge of having some new options.
Boston has long been a “gateway city” for Aer Lingus, Ireland’s former national airline. For more than a half century the carrier has transported hundreds of thousands of ex-pats and vacationers back to the Emerald Isle with regular non-stop flights direct from Logan Airport to Shannon and Dublin.
Recently, after the International Airlines Group (IAG) bought out the Irish government’s 25 percent ownership share of Aer Lingus, the company launched an aggressive expansion, adding flights to and from Hartford, and additional flights in and out of Boston. This summer, Aer Lingus will offer up to three daily flights.
In late fall, it was revealed the airline will soon have competition at Logan from Delta Airlines, which plans to begin seasonal service to Dublin in late May. Delta has long offered direct Ireland flights from New York and its base in Atlanta, and its new service is expected to depart Boston for Dublin after 9 p.m., with daily flights throughout the summer and early fall.
In addition to those non-stop options, two Iceland-based carriers, Icelandair and WOW airlines, have been offering one-stop service, with flights to Reykjavik and a change of planes to Dublin. WOW recently announced plans to add flights to Cork, one of Europe’s fastest growing airports.
Early last month, the US Department of Transportation announced it would allow the low-cost carrier Norwegian Air International (NAI) to fly to the US, a move that had been pending for more than a year. NAI had announced plans in 2015 to offer flights from Cork to Boston and New York, and the DOT approval apparently removes a last roadblock to those plans.
However, newspapers in Ireland report that NAI will bypass Boston’s Logan, and is currently considering lower-cost airports in New Hampshire and TF Green in Rhode Island for its base of operations.
The NAI deal may not be final, however, as the approval is being opposed by some US-based carriers and aviation labor unions, and some members of Congress have urged President-elect Trump to reverse the decision once he takes office.