Celebrations all round at the first scheduled direct transatlantic flight from Cork Airport to Boston Providence, USA with Norwegian. From left: Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director, Cork Airport with Uncle Sam and Tore Jansen, CEO, Norwegian Air International, with the help of the Cork Admirals American Football Team and the Wolfes Stage School. (Photo: Brian Lougheed Photography)

Aviation history was made at Cork Airport this week with the departure of Norwegian Flight D81821 from Cork to Boston/Providence – the airport’s first ever scheduled transatlantic service. 

The new transatlantic service will operate three times per week, linking the South of Ireland region to the Greater Boston, Rhode Island and New England areas. The long-awaiting opening of the new route will lead to greater travel, trade and tourism between the two regions.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director at Cork Airport, thanked the team at Norwegian for partnering on the long and hard journey to deliver new direct transatlantic service from Cork to Boston Providence. “I would like to thank especially all of our stakeholders, on both sides of the Atlantic, who assisted us with their support to secure the granting of the licence,” he added.

“I also want to acknowledge the wider team here at Cork Airport, across our own and many companies, who work seven days a week, fifty-two weeks of the year, to deliver outstanding customer service to all of our passengers. I am proud to say that this great service from all our staff was recognised recently when Cork Airport won the “Best Airport in Europe” award of its class at the Airport Council International Congress in Paris earlier this month.”

“The official history of Cork Airport was last published in 2011 in a book entitled ‘Fifty Years Have Flown’. Today I am very proud to say that a new chapter can be added to that book and Cork Airport is now Ireland’s and Europe’s newest transatlantic airport. From today, you can now fly year-round, at low cost to the East Coast of the United States of America direct from Cork Airport, with great value parking, a short walk from the terminal and a very friendly, convenient service.

“The airport in Providence is a great facility with fast and efficient Customs and Immigration services and excellent transport connections. There is a direct train service from the airport itself straight to Boston in 90 minutes ($11.50) and Providence itself, Newport, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Cod are all within convenient reach.

Even more importantly, thousands of US visitors can now land right here in Cork to start their journey on the Wild Atlantic Way and throughout Ireland’s Ancient East. Cork Airport is the only airport in Ireland connecting directly to both of these Irish tourism products. This will bring jobs, revenue and tourism growth directly to businesses and towns throughout the South of Ireland and grow our regional economy”, he stated.

“With the chill winds of Brexit looming, tourism diversification is critically important to maintaining our strong regional economy and the US is a key growth market for the South of Ireland now and going forward”, he noted. “Today is a historic day. I wish Norwegian every success, as together we open a new chapter in the history of Cork Airport.”

Celebrations all round at the first scheduled direct transatlantic flight from Cork Airport to Boston Providence, USA with Norwegian. At the launch were, from left: Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director, Cork Airport; The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald and Tore Jansen, CEO, Norwegian Air International. (Photo: Brian Lougheed Photography)

Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said: “The first ever transatlantic flights from Cork are a huge milestone for the airport, Norwegian and most of all passengers who can now enjoy direct, affordable travel to the USA. These flights simply wouldn’t have been possible without the huge support of the Cork community over the last three years so we are delighted to see everyone’s hard work pay-off as our first flights take to the skies this weekend.”

Tourism Ireland Chief Executive Niall Gibbons said the new Norwegian flight from Boston/Providence was “excellent news” for tourism to Cork and the South of Ireland. “We are delighted to co-operate with Norwegian and Cork Airport, to maximise the promotion of this new service.  As an island destination, the importance of convenient, direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated – they are absolutely critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism.”

“Last year, we welcomed a record 1.6 million North American visitors to the island of Ireland, worth over €1.3 billion to our economy. Tourism Ireland has prioritised North America for 2017, as a market which offers a strong return on investment, in terms of holiday visitors and expenditure. We are confident that our strategy – combined with more airline seats than ever before from the US, including this new Norwegian flight to Cork, as well as a strong dollar and the strength of the vacation experience around Ireland – will deliver further growth.”