Plans in place for Boston-Cork flights beginning next May

A budget-priced European airline has announced plans to begin non-stop transatlantic service from Boston to Cork, with flights expected to begin next May.

Norwegian Air Shuttle (NAS), Europe’s third largest low-cost airline, says it will launch the new direct “low-cost” transatlantic services from Cork to Boston, making the route the only transatlantic operation from Cork Airport. A new Cork to Barcelona route will also be launched, the company said in a press release late last month.

Plans for the new routes were confirmed in a letter from Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos to Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe. “This is only the beginning of our plans for new routes in Ireland,” Kjos said, adding, “but our expansion relies on the US Department of Transportation (DoT) finally approving Norwegian Air International’s application for a foreign carrier permit. Only DoT approval for NAI will unlock the door for these exciting new routes, creating more competition, more choice, and better fares for business and leisure passengers on both sides of the Atlantic.”

The new route, offering 4-5 flights each week will be operated under Norwegian’s Irish subsidiary, Norwegian Air International Ltd (NAI), and form part of the airline’s plans for continued expansion in the UK and Ireland. The company said a Cork to New York service is planned to launch in 2017.

Said Kjos: “Norwegian is leading the way in offering affordable transatlantic travel and with the new generation aircraft we have on order, we now have exciting plans to offer low-cost flights from Cork to Boston in 2016 and Cork to New York in 2017. “We are delighted to offer a long-awaited service from the US to Cork and the southern parts of Ireland, which will create huge business, leisure and tourism opportunities. Our new Cork to Barcelona route is also an exciting addition to our growing network.

Cork Airport Managing Director Niall MacCarthy said: “We’re delighted that Norwegian will operate Cork Airport’s first transatlantic service. Cork Airport has a robust hinterland with a well-developed industrial base and a fantastic tourism product. We’re sure there will be strong demand for these new transatlantic services from both business and leisure passengers. We look forward to working closely with Norwegian and our local partners to promote these new services and to grow passenger traffic at Cork.”

The routes from Cork to Boston and New York will be serviced by single aisle B737-800 aircraft and the new B737MAX for which Norwegian Air International will be Boeing’s European launch customer.

“Boston is an important market for Norwegian, and these new routes show our commitment to the US, where we will continue to grow our presence by offering high-quality service on brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliners at the lowest fares,” said Norwegian’s Kjos. “We are excited to offer Bostonians even more European destinations from this east coast gateway at affordable fares without discounting on service, which so many Americans have been enjoying since Norwegian launched its transatlantic service two years ago.”

“Norwegian offers more international destinations than any other foreign carrier operating here,’’ said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. “We welcome their growth, their array of destinations, and that they offer budget-conscious travelers a great way to get to and from Europe.’’