25/09/2018

Norwegian Air Decision 'Moronic'

Norwegian Air has announced the end of its direct flights from Northern Ireland to the United States.

The low-cost airline launched the direct routes to New York and Boston in 2017, but said that the last US flight would leave NI on 27 October, due to "customer demand".

Belfast International Airport said that is "extremely disappointed" by the decision and accused the airline of "moronically channelling much greater levels of Northern Ireland passengers onto Dublin flights".

A spokesperson for the Airport criticised Norwegian Air for only offering a twice weekly flight, which it said was "neither flexible nor attractive enough to appeal to the local travelling public".
News Image
Also commenting on the announcement, Alliance South Antrim MLA John Blair, said: "This is a disappointing move that has the potential to be a major economic blow for Northern Ireland.

"To lose a direct air route between Northern Ireland and the United States is a setback for businesses, as well as tourists. I know huge efforts have been made by the International Airport to improve services and the number of flights there, and I commend them for that.

"Undoubtedly, one major factor impacting Belfast International Airport's ability to compete is air passenger duty. Air transport here already faces challenges due to geography, so air passenger duty even further disproportionately affects the airport and others. If it was removed or reduced, it could see airlines return services and travellers facing fewer costs. 

"When the Executive returns, one of its priorities must be to develop a clear strategy on attracting other airlines as a matter of urgency, to develop our air links and grow our economy."

(MH/CM)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

30 November 2012
MPs Call To Scrap Air Passenger Duty
MPs are calling for the £13 air passenger duty on Northern Ireland flights to be scrapped. The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has claimed the tax on short haul flights is a major stumbling block to rebuilding the NI economy. The Committee is attempting to persuade the Executive and the Treasury to reduce or abolish the tax.
25 November 2011
Traffic Congestion Clouds Air Quality
There's something in the air this week with news of improvements in Northern Ireland's air quality standard - but there's still big problems near major road junctions. The NI Environment Minister Alex Attwood has advised that air quality here has continued to improve year on year.
16 June 2009
Bombardier Takes Off
East Belfast-based aircraft company Bombardier has revealed it has signed a deal to sell another 15 planes to a Spanish airline. The agreement is with Air Nostrum and the company's base in Belfast has welcomed the order worth $793 million. The company is to start deliveries in 2014.
18 December 2003
Call for Aldergrove to be used as NI's main air hub
North Antrim MLA, Ian Paisley jnr has called on the government to seriously consider utilising Belfast International Airport as Northern Ireland's main air hub. His comments follow launch of the Aviation White paper which could lead the way for more late night flights at Belfast City Airport.
25 February 2015
International Airport Reopens Public Viewing Gallery
Belfast International Airport has reopened its public viewing gallery, ten years after it was closed. At the new facility, which offers panoramic views of the apron and main runway, visitors will be able to track the progress of arriving and departing flights, while listening to live audio from Air Traffic Control and "apron chatter".