US airlines’, ALPA criticism fallacious, says Norwegian / News / The Foreigner

US airlines’, ALPA criticism fallacious, says Norwegian. Norway low-priced airline hits back in the latest round of the transatlantic air travel-wages, conditions, and competition dispute with four major American carriers and the Air Line Pilots’ Association. Friday’s move is an escalation of an ongoing row over the airline’s application for a foreign carrier permit, filed with the US Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) based in Washington D.C. Home base issues Norway-based Norwegian Air Shuttle (NAS) commenced its routes between Scandinavia and the US and Thailand earlier this year using rented-in planes. Their Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners registered in Ireland, an EU country, subsequently replaced these. The company currently operates these through its subsidiary Norwegian Long Haul.

norwegianairshuttle, norwayflights, usfllights, asiaflights



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US airlines’, ALPA criticism fallacious, says Norwegian

Published on Friday, 27th December, 2013 at 20:37 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 9th January 2014 at 00:11.

Norway low-priced airline hits back in the latest round of the transatlantic air travel-wages, conditions, and competition dispute with four major American carriers and the Air Line Pilots’ Association.

787 Dreamliner in Norwegian livery
787 Dreamliner in Norwegian livery
Photo: Atle Straume/Norwegian


Friday’s move is an escalation of an ongoing row over the airline’s application for a foreign carrier permit, filed with the US Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) based in Washington D.C.

Home base issues

Norway-based Norwegian Air Shuttle (NAS) commenced its routes between Scandinavia and the US and Thailand earlier this year using rented-in planes. Their Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners registered in Ireland, an EU country, subsequently replaced these. The company currently operates these through its subsidiary Norwegian Long Haul.

Registering their planes in Ireland not only gave the carrier EU flight traffic rights, though, but also allowed them to staff these long-distance flights using Asian cabin crew instead of Norwegian.

Moreover, Norwegian currently flies to the US on an EEA-origin licence. They have now applied for an EU licence to fly to the US through Ireland-registered sister company Norwegian Air International (NAI). According to them, Ireland is “their principle place of business.”

Substandard                

Air Line Pilots’ Association (ALPA) officials have protested to the D.O.T. They claim Norwegian pay these crew less, as well as offering inferior working conditions. They alleged this is possible because the low-priced carrier uses their Singapore base to recruit personnel under local legislation.

According to Norwegian, “our first crew base is located in Bangkok, with locally hired cabin crew and pilots. Wages and conditions are fully competitive internationally. Our cabin crew’s wages are the same level as other Asian-based crew, such as those working for Thai, Qantas, and Finnair.”

50,000 member-strong ALPA wants Norwegian’s D.O.T. application refused - as does the TTD (Transportation Trades Department - external link). The TTD, AFL-CIO, represents 32 unions, including ALPA.

ALPA wrote in their letter to the authority this is “because the company appears to be attempting to evade its national laws and regulations to compete unfairly against U.S. airlines and their employees. The call came in an answer that ALPA filed in response to NAI’s application.”

A deal-buster

“Norwegian Air International (NAI) was clearly designed to attempt to dodge laws and regulations, starting a race to the bottom on labor and working conditions,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president. “If successful, the company would gain a serious and unfair economic advantage over U.S. airlines in the competition for the business of international passengers flying to and from the United States. This exploitation of the laws intended to prevent labor law shopping cannot be allowed to stand.”

ALPA officials also stated their ‘flag of convenience’ concerns. This scheme is where an aircraft, in this case, can be registered in a different country than its ownership. The applicable country’s laws and regulations can then be applied to operations, which could give companies an unfair competitive advantage.

A Norwegian spokesperson subsequently suggested they “obtain some facts about Norwegian, our operation and strategy before presenting false statements about a company they obviously don't know much about.”

Untrue

At the same time, four major US carriers – American Airlines, Delta, United, and US Airways – are also now demanding the same as ALPA. Specifically citing anti-flag of convenience laws, they allege Norwegian’s business transferral move breaks with the EU-US deal called the ‘Open Skies Agreement’. This allows US and EU-based airlines to fly between both unrestricted.

Norwegian rebuts claims in their statement, Friday.

“ALPA and several U.S. competitors’ recent allegations made about Norwegian are false and misleading. Norwegian offers low fares, industry-leading service, and point-to-point routes between the US and Europe. This has not been well received by competitors who have dominated the marked with expensive fares for decades.”

"We're different"

"Norwegian is also in the process of recruiting hundreds of American crew during 2014. Wages and conditions will of course be competitive and follow U.S. laws and regulations regarding social security, taxes etc. Norwegian always follows the rules and regulations in all markets we operate. We offer competitive wages and conditions to all crew, regardless of crew base,” they add.

Regarding their business and strategy, the airline states that “Norwegian’s goal is to bring innovative service, competitive fares and an industry-leading product to the U.S. market […with a philosophy] that everyone should afford to fly. The trans-Atlantic market has always been dominated by strong airline alliances that advocate expensive fares. Norwegian adapts to the market opportunities offered by the Open Skies Agreement.”

“Traditional airlines do things a bit differently, however. They grow outside their home markets by entering into joint ventures, co-operation or alliances – and let their locally based alliance partners fly their customers,” they conclude.




Published on Friday, 27th December, 2013 at 20:37 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 9th January 2014 at 00:11.

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





  
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