Norwegian Air to end service to Connecticut
WINDSOR LOCKS — Norwegian Air, one of two foreign airlines serving Bradley International Airport, announced Monday that it is ending service to Connecticut.
Service between Edinburgh Airport and Bradley, which is New England’s second busiest airport after Boston’s Logan International Airport, will end as of March 25, said Anders Lindstrom, a United States-based spokesman for the airline. He said the decision by Norwegian Air was motivated by an ongoing tax dispute with the Scottish government.
“The decision to pull the route, along with decreasing service to Edinburgh from other United States airports, is due to the Scottish Government’s postponement of a reduction to air passenger taxes,” Lindstrom said. “Following Norwegian’s launch of affordable trans-atlantic routes from the U.S. to Edinburgh last year, the prospect of a reduction in air passenger taxes meant we had been planning for continued future growth to Scotland.”
Norwegian Air has “seen great potential” in providing service out of Bradley and “is continuously reviewing other future opportunities in Hartford,” he said..
Lindstrom said all passengers who have been affected by the decision have been informed and offered alternative flights, or full refunds, if they chose to cancel their booking.
Norwegian Air’s decision leaves Aer Lingus as the only foreign-based airline proving international Bradley International Airport at a distinct disadvantage in its efforts to keep Connecticut residents from chosing other airports in neighboring states.
For example, Rhode Island’s T.F. Green Airport, located in Warwick, is often an attractive travel alternative for residents of eastern Connecticut because of its proximity to the region. T.F. Green is seeing service to Scotland reduced, but not eliminated, according to the Providence Journal.
Bradley is operated by the Connecticut Airport Authority. Kevin Dillon, executive director of the state agency, said airport officials are “disappointed by the discontinuation of Norwegian’s nonstop service.”
“Unfortunately, despite the strength of the Bradley business case for continuing the service, external factors have deteriorated the service’s viability at this time,” Dillon said in a statement. “The United Kingdom’s Air Passenger Duty, which is levied on passengers who utilize Edinburgh Airport, has had a debilitating effect on Norwegian’s business model. For an airline that prides itself on serving as an ultra-low cost option for travelers, the APD incurred by passengers at Edinburgh Airport often essentially doubles the passenger’s total flight costs and undercuts the attractiveness of Norwegian’s low fares.”
Bradley is not the only airport with Norwegian service to Edinburgh that is being impacted by these dynamics, he said.
“We knew from the start that the lack of connecting options at Edinburgh Airport would make the Norwegian service a challenge to maintain,” Dillon said. “However, we were pleased to see that Norwegian’s performance was in line with expectations for a new airline entrant starting operations at Bradley.”
Dillon said Aer Lingus’ route between Dublin and Bradley has shown promising growth, and, after recent discussions, “we are confident that the Bradley route is currently in line for an aircraft upgrade in 2019.”
“This investment is indicative of the strong partnership between Bradley and Aer Lingus, and we look forward to growing together to continue meeting the region’s trans-atlantic travel needs,” he said.
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