Two years after it began offering cheap flights to Europe amid much fanfare, Norwegian Air announced that it would suspend service out of New York Stewart International Airport in September.
The move comes after much of its fleet, consisting of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, was grounded following two fatal crashes on those jets flown by other airlines. The grounding forced the airline to lease other aircraft to cover those routes.
“Since March, we have tirelessly sought to minimize the impact on our customers by hiring, so called wetleasing, replacement aircraft to operate services between North America and Ireland. However, as the return to service date for the 737 MAX remains uncertain, this solution is unsustainable,” said Matthew Robert Wood, Senior Vice President Commercial Long-Haul and New Markets, Norwegian.
In March, Norwegian managed to implement a back-up plan within 24 hours of the Boeing 737 MAX grounding, accommodating all customers booked on the airline’s 737 MAX routes from both New York Stewart International Airport and Providence, as well as launch the new route from Hamilton/Toronto, Canada, to Dublin.
Nonstop services to Cork and Shannon ended in March with the grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft and passengers were rerouted to Dublin flights out of both Providence and Stewart. The service to Dublin from the two U.S. cities and, also Hamilton, Canada, continued, but will now end with the last flight from the U.S. – both Providence and Stewart – on September 14, arriving in Dublin on September 15.
“As the airline moves from growth to profitability, we have conducted a comprehensive review of our transatlantic operations between North America and Ireland and concluded that these routes are no longer commercially viable considering the circumstances. Compounded by the global grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and the continued uncertainty of its return to service, this has led us to make the difficult decision to discontinue all six routes from U.S. and Canada to Dublin, Cork and Shannon from September 16,” said Matthew Wood.
Norwegian would like to thank the partners that made it possible to launch its transatlantic MAX operations back in 2017, specifically the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York Stewart International Airport, Providence’s T.F. Green Airport and Tourism Ireland, as well as the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport.
Customers booked on affected flights have been contacted and offered the option of either being rerouted onto other Norwegian flights or a full refund. Customers from the U.S. can travel to Dublin via Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm.
Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said he will work to attract new carriers to Stewart.
“Norwegian Air’s arrival to Stewart Airport two years ago was received with excitement and the carrier performed well in Orange County,” Neuhaus said.
“Unfortunately, the safety issues experienced this year with the Boeing 737 Max, which had a worldwide impact, played a prominent role in this decision. Norwegian proved that Stewart Airport is a viable option for International flights and the airport will continue the construction of a new customs facility. With attractions in Orange County such as LEGOLAND and Woodbury Common, having an International carrier here is a natural fit. I will continue to work with the Port Authority to attract respected carriers to Stewart Airport.”