Northern Ireland Stormont Assembly abolished (07-Nov-2012) Air Passenger Duty (APD) on long-haul services from Jan-2013. Northern Ireland's Finance Minister Sammy Wilson welcomed the abolishment as the Final Stage of the Air Passenger Duty Bill was passed in the Assembly on 06-Nov-2012 meaning that Air Passenger Duty on direct long haul flights departing from Northern Ireland airports will be reduced to zero with effect from Jan-2013. Welcoming the decision, the Minister said: “The Executive committed in the Programme for Government to reduce the Air Passenger Duty for direct long haul flights to zero. The legislation passed today delivers on this commitment and is good news for our economy in these challenging financial times.... Abolishing Air Passenger Duty on long haul flights will help to protect and improve our international air access and ensure the competitiveness of our airports.” Belfast International Airport MD John Doran said: “Given the increasing differential with regard to direct long haul Air Passenger Duty levels between the UK and Republic of Ireland, and the very specific problems which this caused for Northern Ireland connectivity, we are grateful to the Northern Ireland Executive and HM Treasury that decisive action has been taken. As the International Airport we now look forward with renewed vigour to building upon the success of our direct US air links, as well as reaching out into key additional long haul markets in Canada and the eastern hemisphere, in partnership with the investment and tourism authorities.” [more - original PR]
Ireland Air Passenger Duty reduced to zero on long-haul flights from Jan-2013
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Norwegian's long anticipated new trans Atlantic routes, to be launched in summer 2017, will add five airports in the UK and Ireland and three in the US to its existing long haul network. Norwegian already operates to eight US primary airports from London Gatwick. By using new narrowbody technology Norwegian is opening trans Atlantic travel to smaller cities that could not support widebody service.
The new trans Atlantic routes, the first to be operated by its Irish subsidiary NAI after receiving US rights late in 2016, will deploy new Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft with a longer range than existing narrowbodies, and Norwegian is the European launch customer of the type.
In total there will be 10 new routes, comprising 38 weekly flights from Edinburgh, Belfast International, Cork, Shannon and Dublin serving three secondary airports on the US east coast. These are Stewart International (SWF), Providence (PVD) and Hartford Bradley International (BDL). These US airports are small and relatively unknown in Europe, and Norwegian will have to rely on price stimulation more than it has done on existing long haul routes. Nevertheless, Norwegian is once more leading the market with this innovation.
Aer Lingus part 2: vies with Icelandair, airberlin, Norwegian as leading Nth Atlantic value carrier
Aer Lingus' mission statement includes an aim to be the leading value carrier across the North Atlantic. Although this is not explicitly defined, it can validly claim to be among the top four in this category. Also vying with Aer Lingus for this title are Icelandair, airberlin and Norwegian.
Part 1 of this report on Aer Lingus looked at the development of its capacity and its financial performance, both before and after the acquisition by IAG in Aug-2015. This second part compares its North Atlantic network and its unit cost positioning with those of Icelandair, airberlin and Norwegian.
All four are currently pursuing rapid growth between Europe and North America and have similar weekly seat capacity scheduled in this market for summer 2017. Their trans Atlantic networks differ by their numbers of North American destinations, European hubs serving that region and European destinations connected to those hubs.
Aer Lingus is well placed among the four, but cannot currently claim to be the leading North Atlantic value carrier. Norwegian, with multiple European long haul bases, is developing quite differently from the other three. Moreover, although Aer Lingus is cost efficient, Norwegian has a significant CASK advantage.