38 US senators out against Norwegian / News / The Foreigner

38 US senators out against Norwegian. American politicians seek a fair and thorough review of the Norway carrier’s trans-Atlantic routes applications. Low-priced airline Norwegian Air Shuttle’s (NAS) move requesting approval to fly to/from the US through wholly-owned subsidiary Norwegian Air International (NAI) continues to cause concern. Over a third of US Senate representatives sent a letter to the Department of Transportation (DOT) this week commenting on the matter.

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38 US senators out against Norwegian

Published on Friday, 14th March, 2014 at 11:11 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Sarah Bostock   .

American politicians seek a fair and thorough review of the Norway carrier’s trans-Atlantic routes applications.

A Norwegian Dreamliner
The low-cost airline's plans regarding US flights are far from being on final approach.A Norwegian Dreamliner
Photo: Norwegian


Low-priced airline Norwegian Air Shuttle’s (NAS) move requesting approval to fly to/from the US through wholly-owned subsidiary Norwegian Air International (NAI) continues to cause concern.

Over a third of US Senate representatives sent a letter to the Department of Transportation (DOT) this week commenting on the matter.

The senators strongly urge DOT Secretary the Honourable Anthony Foxx and his Department “ensure they [NAI] comply with the US-EU Open Skies Agreement and are in the public interest” regarding NAI’s pending applications for exemption and foreign air carrier permit.

The 12th March letter was written one day before Edward Wytkind, President Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, addressed the Senate Commerce aviation subcommittee, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security.

This was a hearing on broad global aviation competitiveness issues, with his main focus being on Norwegian. AFL-CIO  represents 32 unions, including ally in the matter, 50,000-member strong ALPA (Air Line Pilots’ Association).

Hostile                                              

The Irish government recently granted the Norwegian airline an Ireland-based AOC (Air Operators Certificate).Norwegian Air Shuttle has registered its long-haul Boeing 787 Dreamliners in Ireland, and commenced Scandinavia-US and Thailand flights last year.

The company was flying these through another subsidiary Norwegian Long Haul, but says it is transferring these to Norwegian Air International (NAI), based in Dublin, after being granted the Irish AOC.

There is concern that NAI has developed a scheme hostile to US air carriers when it comes to competition, affecting tens of tens of thousands of US airline jobs.

Norwegian currently uses Bangkok-based crew hired under local labour laws, with allegedly inferior pay and conditions. They are also hiring US-based crews provided by a staffing agency to man their New York and Florida bases.

ALPA (the Air Line Pilots’ Association) have protested this practice, Norwegian has dismissed ALPA’s pay and working conditions claims as fallacious.

“Undermines standards”

In the letter to the Department of Transportation (DOT), the 38 senators mention that the US-EU Open Skies Agreement has resulted in substantial benefits for consumers, US carriers and jobs, as well as boosting tourism and business travel to America.

The politicians add they support competition, but want to ensure that NAI will not be able to exploit the Agreement “to take advantage of new opportunities provided […] and establish new service between the US and EU.”

They refer to Article 17 bis in their letter. This states that “the opportunities created by the Agreement are not intended to undermine labour standards, or the labour-related rights and principles contained in the Parties’ respective laws.”

This legislation obliges the DOT “to make sure that US carriers are at least on an equal footing with foreign carriers” when they review and approve foreign air carriers’ applications to provide a new air service.

Side-stepping

Four major US carriers – American Airlines, Delta, United, and US Airways – also view Norwegian’s business transferral move as breaching the Open Skies Agreement, citing Flag of Convenience concerns.

“NAI’s [Norwegian Air International] parent company is based in Norway, and NAI is owned and controlled by Norwegian citizens,” write the 38 senators. “However, NAI will operate as an Irish air carrier, even though it does not plan to operate any flights in Ireland at this time.”

“Furthermore, it is our understanding the NAI plans to hire at least some of its workforce through a recruitment firm based in Singapore, which is not a party to the US-EU Open Skies Agreement,” they add.

“Hits the US economy”

Norwegian press spokesperson Lasse Sandaker-Nilsen has confirmed to The Foreigner that “we will be using staffing companies when we establish ourselves in new markets.”

Moreover, the airline has transferred employment of its Sweden-based cabin crew to a staffing agency instead of themselves.

Another US union, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), expressed praise for the move by bipartisan coalition of United States Senators. The AFA represents nearly 60,000 Flight Attendants at 19 carriers.

“NAI’s scheme would ultimately drive US air carriers out of the competition and would profit at the expense of tens of thousands of US airline jobs– and our recovering economy as a whole. AFA continues to firmly oppose any attempt to erode the careers of U.S. Flight Attendants,” they say in their statement.



Published on Friday, 14th March, 2014 at 11:11 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Sarah Bostock   .

This post has the following tags: norwegianairshuttle, norwayflights, usfllights, asiaflights.





  
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