Norwegian Air will no longer operate transatlantic routes between Ireland and North America, after the airline announced that these routes are not commercially viable.

The airline has said "several thousand customers" will be impacted by the route closures.

Norwegian Air began operating routes between Dublin, Cork, Shannon and the US, amid much fanfare, in July 2017, carrying 650,000 passengers in that time.

It will discontinue these routes from September 15 this year.

It is among dozens of airlines globally who have been impacted by the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX fleet, following two fatal crashes involving the aircraft.

Matthew Wood, SVP Long-Haul Commercial at Norwegian said, "Since March, we have tirelessly sought to minimise the impact on our customers by hiring replacement aircraft to operate services between Ireland and North America. However, as the return to service date for the 737 MAX remains uncertain, this solution is unsustainable."

Mr Wood said the airline is assisting customers by ensuring they can still get to their destination by rerouting them onto other Norwegian services after September 15. Customers will also be offered a full refund if they no longer wish to travel. "We will continue to offer scheduled services from Dublin to Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen as normal," he said.

Norwegian Air is engaging with its 48 pilots and 86 cabin crew at its Dublin base, including their respective unions, to ensure that redundancies remain a last resort.

The airlines' 80 Dublin-based administrative staff at Norwegian Air International and Norwegian Group's asset company, Arctic Aviation Assets, will not be affected by the route closures.

Management at Cork Airport say they will be redoubling their efforts to secure a new transatlantic carrier following Norwegian Air's decision. 

This evening, airport management said they were in active talks with a number of carriers in an effort to secure a new transatlantic carrier for the country's most southern airport.

Meanwhile, Pat Dawson, CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association said the ITAA was "extremely disappointed" by today's news.

He said "Norwegian Air has been an important part of building passenger numbers through Cork and Shannon and we would like to see continued growth in our regional airports."

Mr Dawson said, "We understand that Norwegian Air will be working with passengers booked on transatlantic flights to make alternative arrangements or to offer full refunds.

"Anyone who has booked with a travel agent should contact their agent, who will manage all changes and minimise disruption to travel plans."