THERE was good news for Cork Airport, with a rise in passenger numbers, but the US government’s delay in announcing a decision on a transatlantic permit has been slammed.
The latest figures released by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) show Cork terminal flights were up by 19.1% compared with the same month last year, the strongest performance of any Irish airport for the month. Year-to-date passenger numbers to the end of June showed an 8.5% increase. Growth is projected to continue through the summer months as Cork benefits from additional traffic on several new summer services.
Meanwhile, the wait to find out if Cork Airport will get its transatlantic route continues, and a local MEP is asking for pressure to be brought to bear on the US.
Following a meeting between Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune and the European Low Fares Airline Association in Brussels this week, the MEP has called on the Commission to immediately exhaust all avenues to get the US authorities to grant a licence to Norwegian Airlines to fly from Cork and Shannon to Boston.
The US is due to give its decision any day on the licence, which has met with major opposition from airline unions in the US. The unions fear Norwegian will use the licence to introduce low salaries for airline staff.
Last week Norwegian Air dismissed as more ‘false allegations’ statements made by a former US Deputy Transport Secretary in a submission by US unions to the American Dept of Transport.
The submission was made as a ‘late application’ to the documents filed recently by interested parties as the US government debates whether the airline should get its permit for Cork.
John Porcari had claimed the airline would use Asian crew to circumvent existing labour laws.
However, a Norwegian spokesperson said: ‘These are simply the same unfounded allegations that have been dismissed many times in the past. It is a clear fact that Norwegian always follows labour laws in all the markets we operate, offering competitive wages and conditions. NAI does not have a single Asian-based crew member or pilot.’