Aviation leaders Fight Norwegian Airline

Aviation leaders Fight Norwegian Airline

The nation’s largest Pilot union filed comments Monday with the U.S. Department of Transportation demanding it reject a new European Airline’s application to offer low cost transatlantic Flights between the U.S. and Norway.

The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), along with the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL CIO and the European Cockpit Association, called upon the transportation department to reject Norwegian Air International, which they argue will operate under a flag of convenience business model that does not ensure proper oversight or labor standards.

The Department of Transportation must exercise its Authority under the U.S. EU Air Transport Agreement and deny Norwegian Air International’s request to fly to and from the United States,said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president.NAI’s business model violates the principles of the agreement and is not in the U.S. public interest.

While Norwegian has registered its other existing lines in Norway, the company is basing its latest international line in Ireland, offering tickets as low as $99.

However, U.S. Aviation experts say that by registering in Ireland but not flying there, inspectors can’t provide proper oversight of staff training or aircraft safety.

Additionally, members of the Airline’s staff are being contracted from Singapore by a company based in Bangkok. Experts from ALPA say that the company is doing so to skirt expensive taxes and labor requirements.

Steve Jangelis, a Pilot for Delta and ALPA Airport and Ground Environment Group Chairman and Delta Pilot  told The Times that this kind of business model has already caused serious problems in the bus and cruise industry, but taking it airborne would pose more serious security threats.

Would the mayor be happy if a taxi driver shows up at Orlando International Airport who is licensed in Panama who has a vehicle built by Chevy, in Detroit, but yet is trained in Argentina but then has license plates from Singapore? Would they find that acceptable? And they obviously would not. Mr. Jangelis said.

But officials at Norwegian air argue that U.S. opposition stems from a fear of competition and have called ALPA’s accusations slanderous.

The legacy carriers did everything in their power to stop low-cost carriers like Southwest Airlines to enter the domestic skies. Now history is repeating itself as an airline from Norway is taking on the big guys in order to offer everyone affordable flights across the Atlantic, said Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen, Norwegian’s communications manager. “If the authorities listen to the legacy carriers and the unions, the losers will be customers who will be left with no other option than airlines that offer astronomic fares and poor in Flight service. The American people deserve to have a choice.

Mr. Sandaker Nielsen added that Norwegian chose to register its new line in Ireland to access future traffic rights to and from the EU since Norway is not an EU member and said that it’s labor conditions are completely up to standard.

Norwegian always follows the rules and regulations in all the markets we operate, offering competitive wages and conditions. We assume that our U.S. competitors do the same when hiring crews in for instance South America.

However, ALPA authorities say that they are not against competition, and in fact welcome it from Norwegian’s other airliners that are correctly registered.

We encourage competition, Mr. Jangelis said. If they’re going to fly from Norway to the United States, register in Norway. Deal with those safety issues, deal with those labor issues, deal with those tax implications of working in Norway.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed strong opposition to Norwegian’s application to operate in the U.S.

List of British Airways Pilots,
Pilot British Airways,
Airline Pilots Association,
List of UK Pilots,
British Airline Pilots Association,
Airline Pilot Forum,
Norwegian Pilots Union,

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