Belfast International Airport says the decision by Norwegian Air to commence a new year-round Belfast-New York service is ‘the best possible boost for Northern Ireland.’
Norwegian will also add a second direct service for summer ’17 with two flights a-week to Green Airport, Providence, which is a just ninety minutes away from Boston, the capital of Massachusetts.
Norwegian will operate three flights a-week to Stewart International Airport in Orange County, New York, 70 miles north of Manhattan.
The double helping of good news comes just six weeks after United ended its Newark trans-Atlantic service.
Graham Keddie, Managing Director, Belfast International Airport, said: “We have been working with Norwegian and Government agencies to get this project across the line.
“It was vitally important for Northern Ireland to re-connect with the United States of America. Without a direct air link, the job of attracting new investment and expanding Northern Ireland tourism would be a lot harder.
“Now, Norwegian, which has one of the youngest fleets in the business, has stepped up to the mark. There is an established market and re-instating a New York service was the main objective. Securing Boston was the icing on the cake!
“Both symbolically and from an economic standpoint, the New York link is the best possible boost for Northern Ireland. We’re set to see a reduced Corporation Tax rate to help boost our inward investment, and it would have been terribly undermined if we didn’t have a direct service.
“Boston has close links with Belfast, and is an immense untapped tourism market for the region. Americans are in the top five of tourism spenders and if we can expand access, then our impressive visitor attractions, hotels and restaurants will prosper.
“This is a great day for the airport, Northern Ireland, indeed, the entire northern half of the island of Ireland. The Norwegian fare structure will be unbeatable, and we expect that that will prove hugely attractive to people living across the border who are tired of paying top dollar for trans-Atlantic services.
“Many people have worked to deliver this outcome which comes at a minimal cost to the public purse in terms of marketing support and route promotion. I’m grateful to the positive contribution and effort made by Ministers, local MPs and senior officials.”
An added bonus will be the arrival of the new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to our apron. Norwegian is the European launch customer for this state-of-the-art new aircraft which offers a longer range and greater seat capacity than existing single-aisle aircraft.