Pandemic fallout

Austin airport loses 2 nonstop flights to popular European cities

Austin airport loses 2 nonstop flights to popular European cities

Eiffel Tower Paris, France
Say au revoir to Austin's only direct flight to Paris  Ian.CuiYi/Getty Images

Norwegian Air is abandoning all of its long-haul flights, meaning Austin has lost its only nonstop route to Paris — which never actually took off — and a nonstop route to London.

“Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation industry, including ongoing travel restrictions and changing government advice, Norwegian has made the difficult decision to discontinue the operation of its long-haul flights,” Norwegian says in a January 14 email to customers.

In a news release, the financially troubled airline says operating a long-haul network is no longer a viable option. Norwegian will now focus on short-haul flights in Europe.

The low-cost airline says it is issuing refunds to travelers with tickets affected by the January 14 announcement.

With much fanfare, Norwegian announced in October 2019 that it would launch nonstop flights between Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. The three-day-a-week flights were supposed to start in May 2020. However, the pandemic prevented Norwegian from ever getting those flights off the ground.

Norwegian would have been the only airline providing nonstop service between Austin and Paris.

In March 2018, Norwegian began nonstop service between Austin and London’s Gatwick Airport. Those flights were halted after the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic last March. British Airways now is the only airline providing nonstop flights between Austin and London, although the airline’s service to Heathrow Airport has been temporarily suspended.

“We are saddened by this news,” the Austin airport says in a statement, “and wish them success in the future.”