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".
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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)

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