Norwegian Air set a record and sold more than 5,000 flights within six hours of announcing services from the US to four Irish airports on Thursday. The massive response sets a new standard for the budget airline for its new campaign.
“We think that it was our fastest launch sale ever,” a spokesman stated.
The Norwegian Air move into the Irish market, flying 24 fights a week from the US, is a real game-changer given the extraordinary initial sales, say the experts. The airline has said it will add more flights across Europe and to Ireland if it continues to do so well.
Aer Lingus has already responded by dropping fares from Ireland to the US, but the competition will be fierce.
Niall Gibbons head of Tourism Ireland was in no doubt about the impact.
“As an island, the importance of convenient, direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated. They are absolutely critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism. It is an excellent opportunity to strengthen the business, cultural and tourism ties between Ireland and across the Atlantic.”
“If this is a success, we will bring on more flights,” said Lars Sande, senior vice president of sales. That could mean additional frequencies and other European routes. Passengers can expect prices to average $300 to $350 round-trip, Sande told the Boston Herald. “We have the most efficient aircraft available for these kinds of routes, and that means that we are able to keep costs very low,” he said.
But passengers will face additional fees for checked luggage ($45 for the first bag, $50 for a second), meal service including alcoholic beverages ($30) and a reserved specific seat ($30). Or they can pay a $70 bundled fee for a checked bag, meal and specific seat. Or they can go without any amenities, food and no checked bag, only hand baggage."
“It’s a completely a la carte airline,” said analyst Henry Harteveldt, of Atmosphere Research Group. “Depending on what you choose to buy and how much they’re charging at the time, it could equal — and in some cases even exceed — the cost of the base airfare. The optional products are how airlines like Norwegian make money.
Interestingly, Aer Lingus has immediately responded with a €199 one way fare from Ireland, in addition to a series of sassy comments on Twitter.
No free bag?— Aer Lingus (@AerLingus) February 23, 2017
No free seat assignment?
No free meal?
Cheers, you're grand. https://t.co/aZIHqZJpJc
The 24 flights per week from Ireland to the US via Norwegian Ar are distributed as follows:
- Dublin will have daily flights to New York and five times a week to Providence
- Cork will have three flight a week to Providence
- Belfast will have 2 flights a week to Boston and three times to New York
- Shannon will have two flights a week to Boston and two flights a week to New York
The departure times of flight from Providence to Dublin, Shannon, Cork, Belfast are as follows
From Providence to Ireland
DUBLIN: Flight departs Providence at 8:00 PM — arrives Dublin 7:55 AM
CORK: Flight departs Providence 8:50 PM — arrives 8:45 AM
SHANNON: Flight departs 8:35 PM — arrives 8:25 AM
BELFAST: Flight departs 9:30 PM — arrives 9:20 AM
From Stewart Airport New York to Ireland
DUBLIN: Flight departs NY at 8:35 PM — arrives 8:20 AM
SHANNON: Flight departs 8:25 PM — arrives 8:20 AM
BELFAST: Flight departs NY 9:50 PM — arrives 9:45 AM
From Ireland to New York
BELFAST: Flight departs 4:20 PM — arrives NY 7:05 AM
SHANNON: Flight departs 4:15 PM — arrives NY 7:00 AM
DUBLIN: Flight departs 4:00 PM — arrives NY 7:00 AM
From Ireland to Boston/Providence
DUBLIN: Flight departs 3:45 PM — arrives 6:30 AM
CORK: Flight departs 4:20 PM — arrives 7:05 AM
SHANNON: Flight departs 4:25 PM — arrives 6:25 AM
BELFAST: Flight departs 3:45 PM — arrives 6:20 AM