Prices drop on US routes as competition hots up

Prices drop on US routes as competition hots up


A Norwegian Air International Boeing 737-800 departing from Shannon – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

Ireland South MEP and member of the EU Transport committee Deirdre Clune has welcomed a surge in transatlantic flights by low costs carriers comparing it to the emergence of low cost short haul flights across Europe in the late 1990s.

“Low cost short haul flights around Europe became a reality in the late 90s largely led by airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet. Airlines who were able to flourish because of the creation of a single market for aviation. Prior to this air transport was a highly regulated industry dominated by national flag carriers and state owned airports.

Clune went on to say that more low cost carriers on transatlantic routes will mean cheaper flights for consumers, more choice and more opportunities for inbound tourists from the US and Canada.

“More low cost airlines operating on transatlantic routes is about to completely overhaul flights between Ireland and the US and Canada. We can expect to see significant decreases in fares pushed downwards from competition from airlines like Norwegian, WOW and Canadas WestJet.

“The introduction of next generation narrow body, single aisle jets that can fly six to eight hour routes at a lower cost than the wide body aircraft make transatlantic journeys a more profitable prospect. Low cost carriers are growing at a faster pace than their traditional legacy carrier competitors..

“This Summer Norwegian Air International (NAI) begin transatlantic flights from ten regional airports in Ireland and the UK. The developments and the use of smaller planes benefits smaller airports like Shannon and Cork and there are opportunities there for those airports to grow their transatlantic traffic.

Clune said legacy airline groups such as IAG are aware of the competitive challenge facing them and have responded by launching LEVEL, a low cost subsidiary that will fly from Barcelona to four destinations in the US.

Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.