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TORONTO — Low-cost carrier Norwegian is pulling the plug on its Dublin flights out of Hamilton, ON with the last departure set for Sept. 13.
The Hamilton flights are on the chopping block along with Dublin flights out of New York (ex Stewart Airport in the Hudson Valley) and TF Green Airport in Providence, RI.
The YHM service launched with much fanfare in March 2019. The direct flights marked Norwegian’s first-ever service between Europe and Canada as well as the return of transatlantic service to Hamilton following a 10-year hiatus.
At the March 2019 launch of the Hamilton-Dublin flights, Norwegian’s Director of Communications, North America, Anders Lindström said the LCC launched a number of routes into U.S. airports that were not served or did not have transatlantic routes, creating a market. “But in Canada, we’re doing the opposite. We’re going in and seeing where there is a lot of demand and where we can compete instead, and then growing it from there. We’re going to grow slow and profitable and sustainable, to make sure it really works well in Canada.”
The move comes six months after Norwegian announced it would not bring back its two Montreal routes to the Caribbean. The airline’s Montreal – Guadeloupe and Montreal-Martinique flights, which ran from October 2018 to March 2019, marked the LCC’s entry into Canada.
In February 2019 Norwegian said the routes would not be renewed for winter 2019/2020. At that time Lindström said: “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.”
Norwegian didn’t pay commission but did make some attempt to work with agents, with an agent portal at agents.norwegian.com. “When an agent books through the portal, they can make sure their client always gets their luggage and meals included and book seat reservations. And they can price all this, allowing them to add their own commission, so to say,” said Lindström back in March 2019. “We love our travel agents and we know that Canada is more of a market where travellers book through them.”
Like many airlines around the world Norwegian has been hit hard by the 737 Max grounding. Days before the March 31 launch, Norwegian sent out assurances that the route would operate as normal, despite the suspension of the Boeing 737 MAX.
The Boeing 737 MAX grounding is now heading into its sixth month. Norwegian says its decision to cancel the routes reflects uncertainty about when or whether the troubled aircraft will return to the air.
Norwegian isn’t the first LCC to exit the transatlantic market, and it won’t be the last. High-profile airline failures in recent months include WOW Air and Primera.