Shannon Chamber has welcomed the confirmation that Norwegian, through its Irish subsidiary, Norwegian Air International, has received the long-awaited approval from the US government, to commence operations between Shannon and the US, and has called on the region to support existing and new flights as Shannon-US capacity grows.


The additional capacity now promised on transatlantic routes from Shannon as a result of Norwegian being granted a foreign carrier permit to operate from Ireland will require buy-in from the entire region to ensure that these routes remain viable and create the appetite for airlines to continue to expand at Shannon,” said Helen Downes, chief executive, Shannon Chamber reacting to the recent announcement of Norwegian’s successful application.


“The fact that two airlines – Aer Lingus and Norwegian – will potentially be operating a service between Shannon and Boston in 2017 is very positive. The availability of choice on any destination from Shannon is a welcome development. The airport and the region are in expansionary mode so the arrival of new airline liveries on Shannon’s runways is most welcome; they extend Shannon’s, the West of Ireland’s and Ireland’s total reach.


“The US East Coast has always been an attractive destination for people from the West of Ireland and the availability of easy access across the Atlantic a key requirement of business. However, it is now more imperative than ever that everyone in the region matches the airlines’ commitment to Shannon Airport and Shannon Group’s endeavours to attract new carriers to Shannon, by choosing to fly Shannon when accessing the US.”


Congratulating Norwegian on its successful application for a foreign carrier permit to operate from Shannon and Cork Airports, Ms Downes added: “Given that Norwegian will recruit new crews and pilots for both routes, there is an opportunity here for suitably qualified Irish-based people to apply for these jobs. The spin-off at both airports from crew and fuelling activities should also have a positive impact in both locations.


“As the business representative organisation for the greater Shannon area, Shannon Chamber will lend its support to all stakeholders, Shannon Airport. Aer Lingus and Norwegian, to make the cumulative transatlantic offerings a success.  In the next year or two in particular, the market will need a strong marketing presence and agencies like Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and the IDA will be critical in getting the message out; furthermore it is an opportunity to promote the fact that US-bound travellers can avail of pre-clearance at Shannon, which is a huge bonus.”


Modular Automation, a 30-year old indigenous high-tech engineering business based in Shannon, has also welcomed the news from Norwegian.


Commercial Director with Modular, Martin Dolan commented: “Competition in this space can only benefit Irish businesses like ours as we internationalise and build our profile outside of Ireland. We believe we can scale our business by unlocking growth opportunities in the US.  50% of our business now comes from the US and we believe this will continue to rise as multinational manufacturers adopt automation to drive efficiencies and grow their market share.“