Scandi low-cost airline Norwegian is launching its first route from Ireland to Canada

The service to Hamilton-Toronto will commence from March 2019.

By Conor McMahon Reporter, Fora

SCANDINAVIAN LOW-COST AIRLINE Norwegian Air Shuttle will launch its first direct route from Ireland to Canada next year.

The airline, which operates transatlantic flights through a Dublin-based subsidiary, will roll out its daily Dublin to Hamilton-Toronto service from 31 March 2019.

John C Munro Hamilton International Airport is located 64km from downtown Toronto. The hub serves as an alternate for Toronto Pearson International Airport, where Aer Lingus operates a direct service, and it’s about an hour-long drive from Buffalo New York, Niagara Falls and Lake Erie.

The Norwegian service will be operated using a new Boeing 737 Max aircraft that can cater for up to 189 passengers. Fares start from €189 one-way.

The airline’s CEO, former fighter pilot Bjørn Kjos, noted that the Dublin-Hamilton service will be Norwegian’s first direct flight from Europe to Canada.

“We are committed to providing Irish passengers with greater choice and lower fares across our network as we continue to invest in the Irish market,” Kjos said.

Tough competition

Norwegian Air Shuttle, through subsidiary Norwegian Air International, launched its first transatlantic flights from Ireland last year following a lengthy delay. It has since decided to row back on some of the services for the winter months.

It currently operates flights from Dublin, Shannon and Belfast to New York’s Stewart International Airport, but it will suspend the Belfast-New York route for the winter.

It will also shelve flights from Cork, Belfast and Shannon airports to Boston-Providence from October “due to lower demand”.

The news, announced earlier this year, was a big blow for Cork Airport in particular, which launched its first-ever scheduled services to the US in July 2017 after a three-year delay.

Tough competition from legacy carriers like British Airways, American Airlines and Finnair has caused analysts to question whether Norwegian’s rapid growth is sustainable, especially after the airline reported worse-than-expected losses of 299 million kroner (€30 million) for 2017.

As previously explained by Fora, the Nordic carrier is up against powerful airlines on the transatlantic market.

However, several companies have shown an interest in buying Norwegian after Aer Lingus and British Airways parent IAG took a minority stake in the company and hinted at a potential takeover.

Sign up to our newsletter to receive a regular digest of Fora’s top articles delivered to your inbox.