Norwegian has announced that they are cutting all transatlantic routes from Ireland as of September 15, 2019.
This includes flights from Dublin, Cork, and Shannon, operating to the US and Canada. Specifically, their transatlantic routes out of Ireland have included:
- Dublin to Hamilton, Newburgh, and Providence
- Cork to Providence
- Shannon to Newburgh and Providence
All of these routes were operated by the 737 MAX, which obviously has been grounded globally since March. As a result, Norwegian has already suspended some of these routes, while for the Dublin routes they’ve mainly found replacement aircraft.
As Norwegian’s SVP Long-Haul Commercial explains the decision:
“As the airline moves from growth to profitability, we have conducted a comprehensive review of our transatlantic operations between Ireland and North America and considering the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, we have concluded that these routes are no longer commercially viable.
We take a strict approach to route management and constantly evaluate route performance to ensure we meet customer demand. Compounded by the global grounding of the 737 MAX and the continued uncertainty of its return to service, this has led us to make the difficult decision to discontinue all six routes from Dublin, Cork and Shannon to the US and Canada from 15 September 2019.”
For those booked on these flights after they terminate, Norwegian will assist customers in getting them rerouted onto other Norwegian services. Of course that won’t be very direct in some cases since people will be routed through Copenhagen and Oslo. Furthermore, Norwegian will also offer a full refund if passengers no longer wish to travel.
While the 737 MAX is no doubt a big reason these routes were cut, ultimately I think the fact that these were cut permanently says a lot about about how these routes were performing. When the routes launched in 2017 they were incredibly innovative, but like many things at Norwegian, they failed to make money.
With the airline having racked up huge losses and receiving new funding, their focus has shifted from growth to profitability. It will be interesting to see where they decide to deploy these 737 MAXs once they’re back in the air — will we see them on other transatlantic routes, or will they use them for another region?
After all, the 737 MAX is somewhat limited in terms of range on transatlantic flights, so the options for where this plane could work are somewhat limited.