Strategic Meetings Summit London, 26 September,
September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
The US Department of Transport (DOT) has delayed its decision on Norwegian Air International’s (NAI) application for a foreign carrier permit to operate Europe – US services.
The DOT said it requires additional time to reach a decision on NAI’s application.
NAI will be able to continue to operate flights to the US under its temporary permit from the DOT.
Norwegian launched flights to the US and Bangkok from its Nordic base last year and in February gained an operating licence, enabling it to base the business in the EU, where it can operate under more favourable conditions and take advantage of the Open Skies trade agreement with the US.
The application for a permanent licence has been fiercely contested by some parts of the industry. They claim the main reason for the move is to bypass Norway’s strict labour laws, avoiding high labour costs and enabling it to employ cheaper Thai workers.
Norwegian denies this claim and said the move is to gain access to future traffic rights to and from the EU.
The Norwegian low-cost carrier is urging the DOT to “expedite its review” and issue a permit enabling it to fly to the US “once and for all”.
It said that today’s announcement to dismiss the exemption application on “procedural grounds” gives DOT additional time to consider the application and “is not a denial”.
NAI CEO Asgeir Nyseth, said: “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.”
The decision has been welcomed by the Air Line Pilots Association, which has led the fight against the Norwegian application. Its president Lee Moak compared the proposal to a "flag of convenience" model that hurts ocean shipping.
"While today's decision is extremely significant, the DOT's work is not yet complete in making certain that NAI is not permitted to exploit international aviation policy and law to gain an unfair economic advantage over U.S. airlines," Moak said.
"The DOT must take the next step and deny NAI's application for a foreign air carrier permit to serve U.S. markets."