Shane Ross said it was "good news for consumers on both sides of the Atlantic"
Low-cost transatlantic flights will soon operate from Cork Airport, after US authorities granted a long-awaited permit.
Cork Airport confirmed on Twitter tonight that the US Department of Transportation issued the order for a permit for Norwegian Air International.
BREAKING NEWS. US Department of Transportation issues order for permit for NAI clearing the way for transatlantic flights @CorkAirport— Cork Airport (@CorkAirport) December 2, 2016
The low-cost airline last year announced its plans to launch direct flights from Cork to Boston, with four to five flights a week. Other routes are also planned.
However, the plans had also faced opposition in the US.
Transport & Tourism Minister Shane Ross said in a statement: “I am very pleased that a decision has been made and that NAI as an EU airline licenced by the Irish aviation authorities will finally be allowed to avail of the rights available to all EU airlines under the EU-US Open Skies Agreement.
"This is good news for consumers on both sides of the Atlantic, and I now look forward to NAI confirming its plans for the new services it announced last year."
Minister Ross added: "The launch of those services, bringing additional capacity and the direct transatlantic connectivity into the region, will be a boost for Cork Airport and for Cork business and tourism, and I am sure that the services will be well supported by the people in Cork and the wider catchment area."
The statement notes that the decision 'closely follows' the European Commission launching arbitration proceedings against the US under the terms of the EU-US agreement.
The news that permission has finally been granted was also welcomed by Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune:
Delighted to hear US authorities have issued a permit to Norwegian, meaning low-cost transatlantic flights from @CorkAirport are a reality!— Deirdre Clune (@DeirdreCluneMEP) December 2, 2016