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The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has granted long-haul, low-cost carrier Norwegian Air permission to begin transatlantic flights from Cork, Ireland (ORK). When this new service launches, it could provide another relatively affordable option for transatlantic travel.
Unlike most airlines, Norwegian has four operating certificates (two in Norway, one in the UK and one in Ireland) and though consumers may not notice any difference on board, they effectively operate like four independent businesses.
Norwegian already has the right to fly anywhere in the United States, and it’s expanded its route network rather quickly. The carrier has been asking that both its Irish and UK subsidiaries be granted the same privileges. Last year, it even announced that it would double its Dreamliner fleet if the DOT allowed for ORK flights.
The approval of Norwegian’s Irish subsidiary, announced Friday, comes about three years after the airline submitted its application. This delay was due to contentious communications between European regulators (who had already approved the request and said the US was required to do the same by law) and stateside groups (which object to the airline’s strategy of avoiding Norwegian labor and tax laws by operating as an Irish carrier).
The DOT’s approval should be positive news for transatlantic travelers. Currently, passengers have to travel out of either Shannon or Dublin airports to catch a nonstop flight to the US. Once Norwegian launches service from Cork (Boston and New York will likely be the first US destinations), customers will have a new airport option and more routes to choose from.
H/T: Travel Update
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