September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
The US government has approved Norwegian Air International’s long-awaited application for a foreign carrier permit
The airline has fought for a number of years to establish a subsidiary in Ireland to offer low-cost transatlantic routes.
While Norwegian is already flying to New York and other U.S. cities, its ability to expand globally has been limited to the air rights that Norway has negotiated.
However, as Ireland is a member of the European Union unlike Norway, it can tap into aviation rights that the European Union has secured.
Critics including rival airlines and unions claim the move is an attempt to skirt Norway’s strict labour laws by hiring cheaper pilots through Asia.
The unions also have said if a licence is granted it will create “unfair competition with EU and US carriers” and “threaten to degrade labour standards”.
The airline denies this claim and said the move is to gain access to future traffic rights to and from the EU.
Norwegian said: "We welcome the long overdue news that Norwegian Air International (NAI) has been awarded a foreign carrier permit by the US Department of Transportation.
"This approval finally makes it possible for us to plan the Cork to the U.S. routes we, and many others, have been looking forward to.”
It added: “While the delays Norwegian have faced have been unfortunate and unnecessary, ultimately the decision now made by the US DOT finally paves the way for greater competition, more flights and more jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.
"Above all, it is a victory for millions of passengers who will benefit from more choice and lower fares.”
Norwegian labour union Parat criticised the final DOT decision.
“We know that Norwegian has used Asian labour, and that they want to open routes and fly to other parts of the world. We fear that American and European workers will not have the chance to compete with wages and working conditions from other continents,” spokesman Vegard Einan told broadcaster NRK.