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DOT Rejects Norwegian Air International Foreign Carrier Permit

September 3, 2014 – The US Department of Transportation (DOT) announced on Tuesday that it has denied Norwegian Air International's application for a temporary foreign air carrier operating authorization. 

This is a significant victory for the American aviation industry and the workers that support it. Although DOT is still considering NAI's application, the rejection only applies to the temporary exemption NAI also applied for. 

"The United States and the European Union have clearly defined agreements on how the transatlantic market is serviced," said Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) President Laura Glading. 


"NAI is blatantly trying to circumvent those rules at the expense of American and European airline workers alike. On behalf of APFA's 24,000 members, I thank Sec. Foxx for listening to the stakeholders and making an informed decision on this matter. I look forward to the day NAI's application is dismissed once and for all." 

NAI has established itself as an Irish company in order to avoid the labor laws of its home country, Norway, where NAI's parent-company is based. NAI has no plans to base operations in Ireland or even fly there, but rather exploit the local laws that will allow the company to source flight crews from Southeast Asia and elsewhere. These employees will work on individual contracts without the opportunity to bargain collectively. In this way, NAI plans to undercut American and European carriers currently flying transatlantic routes. 

"APFA is working closely with our fellow unions throughout the industry on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as with policymakers in Washington and airline management," Glading said. "We will continue to push to block NAI's application and ensure fair competition. We need to keep the pressure on."



Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) president, Lee Moak said “Today’s decision puts the Norwegian Air International scheme on hold, but it doesn’t end the threat it poses to fair competition and U.S. aviation jobs. The DOT must heed the call made from so many in Congress from both sides of the aisle, labor groups on both sides of the Atlantic, and the European Commission’s own labor-management organization and deny NAI’s application for a U.S. foreign air carrier permit.” 

In a statement released Norwegian Air said "Norwegian urges DOT to expedite its review and issue NAI’s foreign carrier permit fly to the U.S. – once and for all.  Today’s announcement to dismiss the exemption application “on procedural grounds,” simply gives DOT additional time to consider NAI’s permit application. It is not a denial. Norwegian Air Shuttle already holds a permit to fly between Europe and the U.S., and Norwegian Air Shuttle’s existing operations to the U.S. are not affected by today’s announcement.

“While we think it is unfortunate that DOT feels the need to further delay issuance of our permit, which has been pending now for over six months, Norwegian Air International stands behind its business – from its pilots and cabin crew to its affordable fare model to its desire to bring competition to the transatlantic market – and looks forward to receiving approval to operate without further delay,” said Asgeir Nyseth, CEO of NAI.

"The EU-US Open Skies Agreement requires that permits be issued with “minimum procedural delay.” Both the European Commission and the Irish Government have clearly voiced support for NAI’s application. Norwegian enjoys strong support from a wide range of local communities, airports, consumer groups, and airlines as well as three former U.S. Secretaries of Transportation: Norman Mineta, Mary E. Peters and Andy Card.  In addition, major news organizations such as the Wall Street Journal and USA Today have given their editorial support of NAI’s application. Norwegian Air International looks forward to bringing its award-winning service to the U.S., boosting tourism, and creating new American jobs.  It’s time to let NAI fly.”
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