- Norwegian Air is discontinuing low-cost flights between Ireland and North America over the grounding of Boeing 737 Max planes.
- The company currently offers cheap transatlantic flights between Ireland and the US and Canada, which are available for as low as $111 (€99).
- But the grounding of Boeing 737 Max planes after two fatal crashes means the routes are “no longer commercially viable” and will be stopped from September 15, the airline said.
- Norwegian has sought to disrupt the industry with its low-cost, long-haul flights but is now suffering alongside many other airlines from the grounding of the Max.
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Norwegian Air is stopping its flights between Ireland and the US and Canada over the ongoing grounding of the Boeing 737 Max.
Norwegian has offered flights between airports across Ireland and North America since 2017, then offering flights for as little as $69, providing a low-cost option for transatlantic travel as it sought to disrupt the aviation industry.
Booking on Wednesday to fly from New York’s Stewart International Airport direct to Dublin on Saturday, September 14, a one-way ticket would cost $111 (€99).
But the airline, one of Europe’s biggest budget airlines, said on Wednesday that the routes are “no longer commercially viable.”
Matthew Wood, senior vice-president of Norwegian’s long-haul commercial division, said that the global grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max planes since March has led the airline to make the “difficult decision” to discontinue the flights from September 15.
Norwegian was one of the few airlines to fly the 737 Max on transatlantic routes, flying between airports in Cork, Dublin, and Shannon in Ireland, and airports in Canada and the US.
“The Max-8 … gives us the ability to open up routes between the Europe and the U.S. on a totally new fare basis.” Norwegian’s CEO Bjørn Kjos said when the routes launched, Forbes reported.
- Jemal Countess/Getty Images
The 737 Max has been grounded around the world since two deadly crashes in October 2018 and March 2019, which killed a total of 346 people.
Wood said that the “continued uncertainty” about when the plane will return to the skies has meant that Norwegian’s position is “unsustainable.”
Many in the industry expected the plane to return to service during the summer, but the industry has faced more disruption than expected as more issues with the plane emerge and regulators are yet to review and approve Boeing’s fix to the plane. Exactly when it will return to service remains unknown.
Norwegian, which had 18 Max planes in its fleet before the grounding, is one of many airlines that said it is seeking compensation from Boeing over their grounded planes and the delayed deliveries of new jets.
Wood said that Norwegian had been hiring replacement aircraft to run the service between Ireland and North America, but it would not be sustainable continue doing so.
- REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson
Wood said that administrative staff at its Dublin base would not be affected, and said he hoped that job losses will be a “last resort.”
Norwegian will still fly to Oslo, Stockholm, and Copenhagen from Dublin.
Other airlines have cancelled thousands of flights and cancelled other routes over the 737 Max grounding. Ryanair, one of the world’s largest airlines, said in July that it will cut cut 900 pilot and flight attendant jobs this year due in part to the 737 Max, as well as uncertainty over Brexit and increasing fuel prices.
- Read more about Boeing’s 737 Max crisis: