Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
TORONTO — Less than four months after it launched its West Indies flights out of Montreal, low-cost carrier Norwegian says the routes won’t be renewed for winter 2019/2020.
The airline’s Montreal – Guadeloupe flights marked its entry into Canada, with the inaugural flight taking off Oct. 29, 2018 with three times weekly service. The Montreal-Martinique flights began Oct. 31, 2018, also three times a week. Service from Guadeloupe and Martinique to Cayenne, French Guiana, allowed for connections to Montreal flights.
All the flights were seasonal and set to wrap up at the end of March 2019.
Norwegian will keep the flights going until the end of March as planned. The decision also impacts its West Indies service out of the U.S., launched several years ago.
Norwegian’s Director of Communications, North America, Anders Lindström told Travelweek: “We are sad to see the end of our French Caribbean operations, which we launched back in 2015. While our routes to Guadeloupe and Martinique have performed fairly well, with new cost-cutting measures as a priority and aircraft utilization a key focus, it is not financially sustainable as a European airline to move operations each winter season as we have been–aircraft, pilots and cabin crew – from Europe to these islands.”
He added: “Norwegian has received great support from our partners, the tourist boards and airports, but the service will end on March 31, and not return for the 2019/20 winter season or beyond. Both Guadeloupe and Martinique are hidden gems in the Caribbean and great tourist destinations, and we truly hope a US-based carrier will be able to step in and fill the gap as we have significantly increased the awareness of these two wonderful islands.”
Norwegian is also scheduled to offer Dublin flights out of Hamilton, ON starting in March 2019. The Dublin route’s inaugural flight “is all set for March 31” as planned, says Lindström.
It’s a low-cost carrier and doesn’t pay commission but it works with travel agents via its trade portal at https://agent.norwegian.com.