Dublin to fly Cork and Shannon's Norwegian passengers to US next week

Dublin Airport, file photo.

Passengers scheduled to fly from Cork and Shannon to the US east coast with Norwegian Air International next week will now travel from Dublin Airport after Boeing's 737 Max aircraft were grounded, the airline has said.

Norwegian said in response to the suspension of Boeing 737 Max planes by European aviation authorities, which are used on its Cork and Shannon routes to the US, it would transport passengers by bus to Dublin, where they will fly on different Boeing aircraft.

The affected flights are from Shannon from April 1-10, while Cork flights from April 2-9 are included.

The airline said it had offered passengers the chance to rebook or receive a full refund free of charge if they no longer wish to travel.

The airline is also combining flights and reallocating aircraft within its own network to keep cancellations to a minimum and minimise inconvenience for its customers," Norwegian said.

The firm said it was "actively working on more permanent measures" to operate normal services from April 11.

The return of the Cork and Shannon flights for the summer schedule from April to October had been uncertain following the worldwide grounding of 737 Max planes in the aftermath of two fatal crashes in five months, plunging Boeing into crisis.

A Lion Air crash in October killed 189 off the Java Sea near Indonesia, and an Ethiopian Airlines crash this month killed 157.

Cork Airport said it "welcomed clarity on the situation regarding the first four flights in April and Norwegian’s ongoing efforts to find a more permanent solution to operate normal direct services from April 11".

Boeing has invited 200 pilots, technical leaders and regulators to an information session this week that will detail how it plans to tackle the crisis, the firm said.

A spokesman for Shannon Airport said it "regrets any inconvenience caused to passengers due to this temporary measure as a result of the suspension of Boeing 737 Max operations by European aviation authorities".

"We look forward to the resumption of our nine weekly services at the earliest opportunity and will remain in contact with the airline in the interim," the spokesman added.

Measures being taken include software changes and more pilot training for the 737 Max, it is believed.

Meanwhile, Cork Airport opened a new airport control centre and office suite to help cope with passenger growth.

Airport police control, airport duty managers and the airside management unit have all been relocated to The Hub, which features a bank of CCTV monitors covering the airport campus, and other airport systems, consolidating the airport’s management teams in one modern purpose-built facility.

An estimated 2.6m passengers are expected to travel through the airport this year, a predicted 8% increase on last year.

Airport managing director Niall MacCarthy said the investment is needed to match the forecasted growth.

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