21 June 2016
By Bryan T. Smyth
Fine Gael Cork Senator, Jerry Buttimer, has said today (Tuesday) that the issue of transatlantic flights from Cork Airport should be raised with Vice-President Biden, during his visit to Ireland this week.
“Norwegian Airlines’ proposed route from Cork Airport would be a very important boost to Cork and the wider Munster region in terms of job creation and tourism.
“The US-EU open skies agreement is supposed to stimulate passenger numbers, facilitate ease of travel and provide options to passengers. We have a carrier in Norwegian Airlines (NAI) who are willing to provide this link. The US should not be allowed to pick and choose, or to be selective when granting carrier permits.
“I welcome Minister for Transport Shane Ross’ commitment to the route which he, his predecessor, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Taoiseach have raised with US authorities on a number of occasions.
“Speaking today Minister Ross said that the delay is clearly not in the interest of the many people on both sides of the Atlantic, who had intended to avail of the new service. I welcome his comments.
“A tentative decision was made by the US Department of Transportation on 15th of April last to grant permit to NAI. This decision was the subject of a public consultation which concluded in May and there is no clear timetable for a final decision to be made.
“I hope that the issue will be resolved as soon as possible, so that formal arbitration will not be necessary. The Department of Transport should continue to liaise closely with the Irish Embassy in Washington, the Irish Aviation Authority and the European Commission in order to secure this crucial service for Cork.
“The latest passenger numbers from Cork Airport reveal further growth of 9.6% in May, compared with the same month last year. Year to date passenger numbers are up 8.4%. Cork Airport is a real success story and growth is projected to continue through the summer months, as the airport benefits from additional traffic on new summer services.”