TD wants investigation into Norwegian Air news

Deputy Alan Kelly believes the Dublin Airport Authority had secured the flights to build the case for a third terminal

TD wants investigation into Norwegian Air news

Alan Kelly (centre) with Labour party members outside Clerys on O'Connell Street in Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated at 16:51

A Labour TD has called for an investigation into the Department of Transport knowledge of Norwegian's new transatlantic flights from Ireland.

The airline had signalled intentions to begin flights from Cork to America - today, it announced 12 flights a week from Dublin, six from Belfast, four from Shannon and three from Cork.

Deputy Alan Kelly told the Public Accounts Committee of the Oireachtas that he believed the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) had secured the flights to build the case for a third terminal at the airport.

Deputy Kelly demanded from the secretary general of the Department of Transport the full disclosure of who knew what and when over the past 15 months.

"I want to know if the DAA were always looking at Cork, or was there another agenda in order to get it into Dublin," he said. "By coincidence, the Minister [for Transport] is after announcing his review in relation to a third terminal."

This is the first time in Cork Airport's history that it will offer flights to the United States.

Reaction

A DAA spokesperson told Newstalk: "DAA, which operates Dublin and Cork airports, has a statutory responsibility to grow traffic at its airports for the benefit of the Irish economy. 

"DAA is delighted that Norwegian has today announced plans to launch new transatlantic routes from Dublin and Cork airports in July. This is a great day for Cork Airport and for Dublin Airport.  These new routes will grow Irish tourism and trade and deliver economic benefits throughout the country.
 
"Management at Cork Airport, supported by DAA has worked tirelessly with Norwegian to secure this new service and today after a 56 year wait, Cork is now a transatlantic airport. 
 
"Cork Airport, was the State's second fastest growing airport last year with traffic up 8% to 2.2 million passengers. This growth further solidified Cork Airport's position as the second largest airport in the State. Passenger numbers at Dublin increased by 11% to almost 28 million."

Cheap flights

With a return fare costing €138, the cost is about one-third of the average fares currently offered by the likes of Aer Lingus, American, Delta and United.

Extras such as meals, checked bags and selected seat will cost more. 

Another way it echoes Ryanair's model is in choosing airports that are slightly out of the way to reduce costs.

For New York, for example, you will be touching down in either Stewart Airport in Orange County or Green Airport in Rhode Island, rather than JFK.