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Norwegian began transatlantic flights from Cork on July 4. All flights on the route are completely sold out for the first three weeks of August. Pic: Brian Lougheed
Norwegian began transatlantic flights from Cork on July 4. All flights on the route are completely sold out for the first three weeks of August. Pic: Brian Lougheed
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Mixed fortunes at Cork Airport as Wow Air drops flights but Norwegian seats selling out rapidly

THE decision of Wow Air to axe its winter schedule from Cork to Reykjavik has led to calls for an enhanced marketing strategy for new routes.

Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald expressed his disappointment at WOW Air’s decision to suspend the Cork Reykjavik route for the winter months.

He hopes a concerted drive to market the route can prevent it being cancelled completely.

A decision has yet to be made on whether the route will re-start again next summer. 

The flights began five months ago as an all-year-round route that included the option of connecting flights to the United States.

In a statement, the airline said: “WOW Air will continue to operate its Cork to Reykjavik summer season service until October 27 next, at which point the route will be suspended for the winter season ahead.

“A decision on WOW Air's plans for summer 2018 from Cork will be made later in the autumn.

Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald said:

"I’m disappointed that, unfortunately, they weren’t able to retain a year-round schedule.

 “We want to see if we can ensure that the route stays in place in the interests of passengers from Cork and the southern region.

“There are so many options at the moment, with transatlantic and European destinations. People have a wide variety of choice so we need a strategic marketing plan.” 

The news is in sharp contrast to the success of the transatlantic route between Cork and Providence. 

Norwegian Air said all flights on the route are completely sold out for the first three weeks of August, less than a month after they began.

"We've seen a great start to the new Cork transatlantic routes with thousands of tickets sold and many flights completely sold out over the summer," a spokesperson said.

As well as large numbers of Cork and Irish passengers using the route to fly to Boston, Norwegian said thousands of US tourists are flying to Cork from the East Coast of the US.

The airline said they could not break down the load factor of each individual route as it was commercially sensitive information but did confirm that all nine flights out of Cork for the first three weeks of August are completely sold out.

"We’re grateful to local passengers, businesses and Cork Airport for the huge support they’ve shown the new route so far, proving the demand for direct, affordable transatlantic travel," the airline said.

The first Cork to Providence/Boston flight landed in the US on Independence Day, July 4.

The airline operates three flights a week to and from Cork. The Cork flights depart on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The flight began following three years of negotiations, debate and political intervention and was hailed by airport officials as ‘a new chapter in the history of Cork airport’.