Belfast airport calls Norwegian ‘moronic’ as it ends Belfast services and expands Dublin & Shannon

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  • Aldergrove’s only trans-Atlantic routes end October 27
  • APD an issue in Edinburgh but not in Belfast since 2013
  • Belfast airport says Norwegian “moronically” channelled passengers to Dublin.

Bjørn Kjos CEO of Norwegian

Norwegian is to end its scheduled services between Belfast International and both Providence and Newburgh on October 27.

Norwegian has increased its other Irish routes and rotations. From October 28, Dublin – Newburgh Stewart increase from 6 to 14w and Dublin Providence increases from 3w to 7w and add a third Dublin route, operating Dublin-Toronto Hamilton daily with B737 MAX from March 31.  Shannon to Newburgh Stewart NY frequencies go to 5w from March 31 2019, compared to 3w in summer 2018 (daily in winter 2018-9). Norwegian’s Shannon 4w and Cork 3w services to Providence RI are confirmed for summer 2019 with the same frequency as this year as seasonal services. Cork  to Providence RI will be suspended for the winter.

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The news comes just a couple of days after Norwegian announced it would be cancelling all of its transatlantic services from Edinburgh, although one route remains until March 2019). While APD was an issue in Edinburgh, the penal tax was removed from long haul flights out of Belfast in January 2013.

A spokesperson for Norwegian told the Belfast Telegraph: “Following a comprehensive review of our services from Belfast and in response to customer demand, we have decided to withdraw our routes from Belfast to the New York and Boston areas. New York and Boston-Providence remain well served by Norwegian from Dublin, Shannon and Cork with up to 33 weekly departures.”

Graham Keddie of Belfast International Airport

A spokesperson for Belfast airport said, “The basic fact remains that the flight schedules provided by this airline was neither flexible nor attractive enough to appeal to the local travelling public. Regrettably the limited and inferior product offered by Norwegian was creating awareness within the market, but moronically channelling much greater levels of passengers onto Dublin flights (where the airline were offering flexible two daily services, rather than the limited two weekly product from Belfast). Hardly a conducive outcome for Belfast economically or socially. It is an unsustainable situation that 2m people in our catchment area should be left with no option but to undertake lengthy and unnecessary journeys to Dublin in order to fly across the Atlantic. It is of greater concern at a time when vital direct access from critical markets for trade, investment and tourism is becoming increasingly focal that the lack of any economically-driven strategy to develop and sustain Northern Ireland air routes from essential markets is creating setbacks of this nature. The  North America market remains strong. We will continue to work to ensure that partner airlines are encouraged to serve our market in an appropriate and sustainable manner.”

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