A year after launch...
Norwegian Airlines scraps Edinburgh flights to US
Grounded: Norwegian flight to US and Spain will end
Budget airline Norwegian is pulling the plug on its remaining flights between Edinburgh and the US, blaming the Scottish government for failing to cut air passenger duty.
The airline launched US routes from Edinburgh only last year. The carrier is also scrapping two of its six other routes from the capital to Barcelona and Tenerife.
It is also reported by The Scotsman that the airline is closing its base at Edinburgh Airport.
The Norwegian is blaming the failure of the Scottish Government to halve air passenger duty (APD) this year as ministers had pledged.
The SNP has failed to secure opposition support and the plans have also been delayed by the need to win EU approval for retaining Inverness Airport’s exemption from the tax. Such a cut would have seen the charge per passenger reduce from £75 to around £37.50.
The airline launched flights from Edinburgh to Stewart in New York State, Providence in Rhode Island and Bradley in Connecticut in June last year.
In January it announced the Bradley service would end and in October the Providence flights were October.
It told The Scotsman today: “After careful consideration, we have decided to withdraw our transatlantic routes.
“Air passenger duty was the main factor, as it meant that fares were higher than we’d like them to be, which affected the profitability of these routes.
“When we compare it to performance on identical routes from Ireland (where there’s no APD), fares are lower, and profitability is higher in those markets compared to Scotland.
“Our Edinburgh routes to Spain will also be withdrawn from next summer.
“None of these summer 2019 flights are currently on sale.
“The cuts are a reminder to everyone of what is at stake for Scotland’s connectivity if the APD issue isn’t tackled.”
“We continually monitor and evaluate routes across our network, and as such we have also decided to withdraw routes from Edinburgh to Barcelona and Tenerife allowing us to focus on maintaining better-performing flights to Scandinavia.”
A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “This is a desperately disappointing decision, entirely caused by a complete failure of the Scottish Government to live up to its commitment to reduce the tax paid by Scots travellers.”