****UPDATE: Norwegian has contacted us to say that “Our lead-in fare [the £69 one-way price referred to in the news item below] includes taxes and charges so passengers won’t pay £69 with an additional APD charge.” The rate of APD for an economy class transatlamtic flight is £75 so Norwegian will be absorbing this fee.****
Norwegian has announced today that it will operate budget flights between Belfast, Edinburgh and three US East Coast destinations.
Services from Belfast to both New York and Boston will commence on July 1. New York services will operate three times a week with a couple of services heading for Boston.
From Edinburgh there will be flights to three destinations: New York (daily), Boston (four times a week) and Hartford CT (three times a week). They will launch on June 15, June 16 and June 17 respectively.
All routes are being flown by B737 MAX aircraft and not the larger, more sophisticated B787 Dreamliners which Norwegian already uses for flights to New York JFK and Boston Logan.
I mention the airport names above because, in order to cut costs and avoid congestion, these B737 MAX services will use smaller regional airports.
Stewart International will be the arrival point for New York City. But it is located 70 miles to the north.
While Boston services will land at Providence RI which is 60 miles south of Boston.
Norwegian is stressing that its fares will start “from £69.” But it must be stressed that £69 is a one-way price, availability will be very limited (budget airlines always promote a limited number of cheap fares as a marketing tool) and the return fare will be higher because, in the case of Edinburgh, the final price will be inflated by APD (see update above for clarification). Note that Belfast’s APD rates vary from those on the UK mainland.
Edinburgh already has a choice of non-stop air links with the US East Coast by American, United and Delta.
But Belfast has no direct link since United quit the New York route so Norwegian’s announcement will be very much welcomed.
See our feature on narrow-body service across the Atlantic in the March issue of Business Traveller.