EDITORIAL: “Landing Norwegian Air is Rhode Island at Its Finest”
Friday, February 24, 2017
“Landing Norwegian Air is Rhode Island at its finest,” were the apropos remarks made by Jonathan Savage, Chair of the Airport Corporation at the announcement of the airline’s selection of T.F. Green as a hub.
For the first time in Rhode Island history, T.F. Green will be a year around international airport. The airline is widely recognized as high quality and low fare.
Tremendous credit needs to be given to Governor Gina Raimondo, Savage, and RI Airport Corporation President and CEO Iftikhar Ahmad.
On Thursday morning 10,000 tickets went on sale for $65 one way fares to Ireland, Scotland, and Northern Ireland — they were sold out 12 hours later.
The implication of Norwegian Air to RI is limitless - tourism to and from Europe at best pricing. It allows for business travel to Europe cheaper than taking the Acela to New York City.
Rhode Island was able to land Norwegian because a cross section of government, business, and tourism leaders joined together to communicate a strong commitment to landing Norwegian.
Sadly, the group working to bring Norwegian to Rhode Island had to overcome the efforts of Congressmen David Cicilline and Jim Langevin who co-sponsored legislation in 2016 that would have blocked Norwegian from operating in the United States.
Raimodo, Ahmad, and Savage deserve credit for focus and skill. Rhode Island will be better and more competitive for their leadership. As Raimondo said in an interview on GoLocal LIVE that if approved, Norwegian Air is a “game changer” for Rhode Island. Governor, GoLocal agrees.
Related Slideshow: Seven Things You Need to Know About Norwegian Air
Where can you fly direct from T.F. Green?
Five direct destinations were announced on Thursday -
Belfast, Northern Ireland
How much are the fares?
The initial flights are truly $65, but the 10,000 allotted tickets sold out before 6 p.m. on the first day.
The fares are now $99 each way.
As RI Governor Gina Raimondo said at the press conference about the $65 fare - "it is just $12 an hour."
Will they be adding other destinations?
Yes, already one new route is coming online in the near future.
It is rumored to be to Norway.
And there are strong efforts by Rhode Island officials to encourage more direct flights to more European cities.
How many other Americans go to Ireland every year?
According to Irish travel officials, 1.4 million Americans traveled to Ireland in 2016.
Ireland captured 10% of all the Americans traveling to Europe.
How many jobs will be created?
Initially, 75 Rhode Island-based employees will be hired and that is expected to immediately grow to 200. Additionally, direct jobs tied to the expansion are expected to create another 200.
Included in these first 75 are the flight crews. Pilots on average earn $120,000 to $250,000.
What is the weekly schedule?
• Year-round service to Edinburgh from Providence: Flights will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays starting June 16; Service will be reduced on certain routes during the winter 2017/2018 season.
• Service to Belfast will be twice weekly from Providence as of July 2. Days of operations will change between the summer 2017 and the winter 2017/2018 winter season.
• Service to Dublin from Providence: Flights will operate five weekly flights starting July 2. Days of operations from Providence will change between the summer 2017 and the winter 2017/2018 winter season.
• Service to Shannon from Providence will begin on July 3 with twice-weekly flights. Days of operations will change between the summer 2017 and the winter 2017/2018 winter season.
• Year-round service to Cork from Providence will start on July 1 with three weekly flights. Days of operations will change between the summer 2017 and the winter 2017/2018 winter season.
Why is this such a “game changer” for Rhode Island’s economy?
In the early 1990s, then-Governor Bruce Sundlun envisioned and realized a redevelopment and expansion of T.F. Green. The airport exploded. When Southwest Airlines came, the airport reached new popularity and transformed as a significant alternative to Logan, but over the past few years competition took its toll on Green.
Now, Sundlun's dream and vision of Green being an international hub is becoming real. The airport has the opportunity to be a spark to international tourism and business.
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