Norwegian Air International (subsidiary of Norwegian Air Shuttle) (Norwegian Long Haul) (Dublin) today (August 26) filed its reply to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) notice of August 4, 2014 requesting comments on the meeting between the U.S. Government and the European Commission. Norwegian Air International urges the Department to grant its application for an exemption and a foreign air carrier permit without further delay.
Norwegian Air International is joined by many supporters, who have also filed in support of its application, including the Irish Aviation Authority, U.S. Travel Association, American Society of Travel Agents, European Low Fares Airline Association, the Oakland, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood airport authorities, Federal Express, and Atlas Air. The American public deserves more choice and lower fare options for flights between the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. economy will benefit from the increased tourism, and Norwegian’s fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners—the largest of any European airline—represents thousands of jobs at Boeing and Boeing’s suppliers throughout the U.S.
In the Notice, the Department summarized the views of the European Commission that a party to the Open Skies Agreement cannot unilaterally deny an airline’s application based on the so-called “social dimension” article of the agreement. “The Commission’s position echoes what we have been saying from the beginning, and we trust that the clear views of the Commission answer once and for all our opponent’s objections in this regard,” said Asgeir Nyseth, CEO of Norwegian Air International. “We look forward to the Department approving our application so that we can enjoy the same rights afforded to every other European airline serving the U.S. market – rights guaranteed to us under the Open Skies Agreement.”
As described in its prior filings, Norwegian Air International promises to offer the American public competitive fares, award-winning service that is responsive to market preferences and demand, and increased service to previously-underserved markets. Norwegian Air International’s support for the U.S. aviation industry is evidenced by its multibillion-dollar commitment to Boeing, its hiring of hundreds of U.S.-based cabin crew, and its support for hundreds of jobs at U.S. airports and the communities it will serve. It will provide new competition for Americans flying to Europe in a market that is dominated by three immunized airline alliances that currently control nearly 90 percent of the market.
The public interest in promoting service authorized by the Open Skies Agreement strongly supports the grant of Norwegian Air International’s application. The grant of the application will enable the Department to protect the important opportunities made available to U.S. carriers by the European parties to the Open Skies Agreement. It will afford an airline of Ireland, one of America’s closest partners in Europe, access to route authority it fully deserves under the Open Skies Agreement.
Open Skies has succeeded beyond all expectations, and it has done so because America made a principled decision to focus on fostering competition and new opportunities, not on protecting the existing market shares of a small number of incumbent carriers that already dominate the market. Three former Secretaries of Transportation — Andrew Card, Norman Mineta, and Mary Peters — have confirmed that these guiding principles of breaking down barriers and increasing competition are the core values the U.S. has sought to promote in open skies agreements. “If the Department wishes to stay the successful course of Open Skies, and promote a pro-growth, pro-competition, pro-consumer policy, the Department should grant Norwegian Air International’s application without further delay,” Norwegian International stated in today’s filing.
Over six months after Norwegian Air International completed its application, and with a regulatory docket filled with hundreds of pages of pleadings, the Department must now make a decision. It is time to let Norwegian Air International fly, and give consumers the choice they deserve.
Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Norwegian Long Haul’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner EI-LNE (msn 34796) with Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen on the tail holds short of the runway at London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW).
SWAPA applauds the Dreamjet decision by the DOT but still opposes the Norwegian Air International application
The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) (Dallas), the union representing the pilots of Southwest Airlines, issued this statement:
The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) commends the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) for granting an exemption to Dreamjet, a startup airline, based in France within the European Union (EU).
“The rapid approval of Dreamjet’s application is applauded by the pilots of Southwest Airlines,” said Captain Paul Jackson, SWAPA Governmental Affairs Chairman. “We agree with the DOT that Dreamjet is fit to serve the EU-US market under the terms of the Open Skies agreement.”
This approval for Dreamjet is in contrast to the application for a foreign carrier exemption on file with the DOT by Norwegian Air International (NAI). The pilots of Southwest Airlines have opposed the application of NAI from early in the process based on their flag of convenience strategy and usurping of labor laws with the offshoring of crews.
“We continue to oppose NAI and at the same time applaud the DOT for recognizing EU carriers that comply with the rules and grant them entry to a fair and equitable market,” Jackson continued.
Dreamjet is set to launch five weekly flights between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Newark Liberty Airport on July 11 with a Boeing 757-200 configured with 74 business class seats.
Note: Dreamjet has now been renamed La Compagnie.
Norwegian launches Boeing 787 flights from London Gatwick to Los Angeles, New York and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood
Norwegian Long Haul (Norwegian Air Shuttle) (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) this week has expanded its Boeing 787 operations, this time from London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW). On July 2 the fast-growing airline launched Gatwick-Los Angeles service. Yesterday (July 3) Norwegian started Gatwick-New York (JFK) flights and today it will commence Gatwick-Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood service.
According to Norwegian, “almost all of the 291 seats on Norwegian’s 787 Dreamliner are fully booked on the launch trips to Los Angeles, New York and Fort Lauderdale.”
The airline continued (translated from Norwegian), “The launch of long-haul routes from London Gatwick is an important part of Norwegian’s global growth strategy and in a few years, it is Spain’s turn. We are excited that Norwegian’s routes between London and the United States are now running. We think that everyone should be able to afford to fly, even between Europe and the USA. The trans-Atlantic market has for too long been dominated by a few large airlines with expensive tickets and limited flexibility”, says CEO Bjorn Kjos.
In 2013, Norwegian launched the only low cost long-haul routes between the United States and Scandinavia, and between Asia and Scandinavia.
This past year, according to Norwegian, 100,000 Americans have flown with Norwegian and 200 000 passengers have traveled from Europe to the United States with the company.
According to Norwegian, “Currently Norwegian employs 300 American cabin crew at the base in Fort Lauderdale and in New York and 200 at the base in Bangkok. Norwegian had over 6,000 applications for the 300 posts in the United States. 150 pilots fly its 787 Dreamliner and 40 more pilots will be employed, including the base in New York.
Norwegian currently has seven 787 Dreamliners in service. By 2018 the company will have a long-haul fleet of 17 Dreamliners.
Norwegian’s current long-haul Boeing 787 routes:
From New York (JFK): Stockholm (ARN), Oslo (OSL), Copenhagen (CPH), Bergen (BGO and London (LGW)
From Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood (FLL): Stockholm (ARN), Oslo (OSL), Copenhagen (CPH) and London (LGW)
From Los Angeles (LAX): Stockholm (ARN), Oslo (OSL), Copenhagen (CPH) and London (LGW)
From Oakland, CA (OAK): Stockholm (ARN) and Oslo (OSL)
From Orlando (MCO): Oslo (OSL)
From Bangkok (BKK): Oslo (OSL) to Stockholm (ARN)
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-8 EI-LNE (msn 34796) with Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen on the tail arrives in New York at JFK International Airport (JFK).
Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian Long Haul) (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) via its Irish subsidiary Norwegian Air International (NAI) (Dublin) issued this statement:
Norwegian Air International (NAI) released the following statement on House passage of Fiscal Year 2015 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act:
“We are disappointed the House legislation includes language attempting to pressure the U.S. Department of Transportation into denying Norwegian Air International’s application. As with anything new and innovative, Norwegian expected opposition from entrenched interests, and we will continue undeterred in the pursuit of our goal of serving the United States.
Norwegian International seeks to offer lower fares to travelers, world-class service on new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, and job creation opportunities through our investment in Boeing aircraft and increased international tourism to U.S. destinations. Norwegian appreciates the support it has received from allies, including three former DOT Secretaries and the hundreds of flight attendants we have hired in the U.S. this year, who share our commitment to growth and competition.
As a licensed carrier of the European Union, Norwegian meets all the legal, safety and operational requirements to serve the United States – and we fully intend to do so in the near future. The time has passed for the Department of Transportation to approve Norwegian’s application.”
Meanwhile the Association of Flight Attendants previously issued this statement:
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) today commended the United States House of Representatives for passing the DeFazio/Westmoreland Amendment that ensures U.S. airlines and aviation crewmembers are afforded a level playing field for transatlantic flying. The bipartisan amendment attached to the 2015 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Act (H.R. 4745), introduced by Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Lynn Westmorland (R-GA), requires that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) follow the protocol contained in the U.S.-EU “Open Skies” agreement.
Currently, the DOT is reviewing an application for a foreign air carrier permit submitted by Norwegian Air International (NAI) that threatens to undercut labor standards both in the U.S. and in Europe by circumventing worker protections, evading international labor laws, and creating unfair competition for airlines covered under the Open Skies agreement.
“Our union is focused on stopping any scheme like Norwegian Air International from severely undercutting our airlines, threatening our jobs, and setting a harmful precedent that would undermine U.S. labor and safety rules. Together with aviation workers from across the industry, we will continue to push back against attempts to dodge laws and regulations that protect good jobs and the safest aviation system in the world,” said Sara Nelson, AFA International President.
“We commend Representatives DeFazio and Westmoreland for their leadership in upholding labor standards and fair competition. This House vote sends a strong signal to the Department of Transportation that NAI’s application is not supported by Congress,” added Nelson.
Copyright Photo: All of the Norwegian Boeing 787s currently operated to the United States are registered in Ireland (EI-) but are currently operated by Norwegian Long Haul. Norwegian Long Haul has a separate AOC and is registered in Norway. Norwegian Air International obtained its AOC from Ireland in February 2014 and hopes to operate from the European Union to the United States. Boeing 787-8 EI-LNB (msn 35305) with explorer Thor Heyerdahl on the tail taxies from the gate at Los Angeles International Airport.
Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian Long Haul) (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) is arguing before the DOT and public opinion, citing an editorial by USA Today, to allow its Irish subsidiary Norwegian Air International (NAI) (Dublin) to operate its Boeing 787 Dreamliners on low-fare flights to the United States. Several unions of other airlines are arguing against this approval process. Norwegian issued this statement:
Citing the airline’s “discount ticket prices” that give “passengers a reason to celebrate,” the USA Today has endorsed Norwegian Air International (NAI)’s application to begin flying from the United States. The USA Today argued that U.S. Department of Transportation – which has delayed approval of NAI’s application for months – could provide a major boon to consumers by approving NAI’s application and introducing competition into the transatlantic flight market. The full editorial is available here:
Read the editorial from USA Today: CLICK HERE
The editorial noted that NAI is able to offer fares far below those of U.S. legacy carriers because NAI is more efficient than its competitors. The airline is using 787 Dreamliners, which “provide big savings on fuel costs.” Further, NAI “steers clear of high-cost, congested airports.”
The editorial further criticized opposition to NAI for running ads that “try to cast NAI as a lawbreaker while implying that safety is being compromised.” The editorial clearly states, however, that NAI’s opposition “lacks any proof” that NAI will not follow the highest safety standards and all U.S. laws.
The USA Today made clear that it believes that “unless the critics can prove that [NAI] is doing something unsafe or illegal, the U.S. government should let NAI fly.”
Meanwhile, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA continues to oppose NAI and issued this statement:
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), was joined by the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) as well as the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) in calling on the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) to deny an application for a foreign air carrier permit submitted by Norwegian Air International (NAI).
AFA, ETF and ITF once again spotlight the unfair labor practices established by NAI in their mission to enter the U.S. aviation market. NAI’s business plan is crafted to circumvent worker protections by evading international labor laws, creating unfair competition with EU and U.S. carriers and threatening to degrade labor standards both in the U.S. and in Europe.
Veda Shook, AFA International President stated: “AFA remains committed to a healthy and robust global aviation marketplace that provides career opportunities and good jobs for workers across the world. Competition and growth are essential to our industry but we must remain dedicated to promoting strong labor standards. Skirting international laws in order to gain unfair advantage cannot be tolerated. We call on Secretary Foxx to deny NAI’s current application before such labor practices become the norm in international aviation, triggering a race to the bottom.”
François Ballestero, the ETF Civil Aviation Political Secretary commented: “The attempt of Norwegian Air to import cheap labor from Asia by employing non-European cabin crew on its long-haul routes are an attack on working conditions of the existing workers. The ETF is committed to fight against social dumping and we urge the DOT to put an end to these unfair practices. And we are not alone in our concerns: the Norwegian Minister of Transport and Communications recently raised his concern to the European Commission about the challenges facing European aviation that are created by fragmented operations between multiple countries.”
Gabriel Mocho Rodriguez, ITF Civil Aviation Secretary added: “The practice of establishing subsidiaries and registering vessels under flags of convenience in order to avoid oversight and slash costs has long been a feature of the maritime industry. The results are well known: lower safety standards, sometimes shocking working conditions, little protection for workers. The ITF is well known for fighting these abuses. For decades we have been warning that the flags of convenience model could be copied in the aviation sector. Just last month, our cabin crew committee decisively rejected the outsourcing and flagging out practices of NAI. The AFA together with the IAM (International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers), TWU (Transport Workers’ Union) and APFA (Association of Professional Flight Attendants), supported that resolve and are actively lobbying the U.S. government and urging it to prevent those unacceptable practices being imported into the US. The ITF will continue to support their effort.”
The ETF represents more than 250,000 civil aviation workers all over Europe, including 80,000 cabin crews.
The ITF represent more than 650,000 civil aviation workers all over the world, including nearly 100,000 Flight Attendants in the United States.
Copyright Photo: James Helbock/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-8 EI-LNB (msn 35305) is pictured at Paine Field in Everett.
Norwegian Long Haul (Norwegian Air Shuttle) (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) has just finished up adding the tail image to its newly-delivered fifth Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. The pictured EI-LNE (msn 34796) was handed over to Norwegian on April 30. Today in Dublin the 787 departed with the new likeness of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen on the tail.
According to Wikipedia, Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen (1872 – 1928) was a Norwegian explorer of the polar regions. Amundsen led the Antarctic expedition (1910–1912) to become part of the first group of explorers to reach the South Pole in December 1911. In 1926, he was the first expedition leader to be recognized without dispute as having reached the North Pole.
Amundsen is also known as the first to traverse the Northwest Passage (1903–06). He disappeared in June 1928 while taking part in a rescue mission.
Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com.
Norwegian Long Haul‘s (Norwegian Air Shuttle) (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) today launched the first nonstop flight between Stockholm (Arlanda) and Los Angeles in California with twice weekly service. As of April 30, Norwegian will operate three flights a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This is the first time that Sweden has a nonstop flight to Los Angeles.
Twice-weekly nonstop Stockholm – Oakland flights will begin on May 3, 2014 and will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Currently Norwegian’s other long-haul routes from Stockholm Arlanda operate to New York (JFK), Fort Lauderdale/Fort Lauderdale and Bangkok.
Norwegian is currently attempting to transfer the Norwegian Long Haul operations to Norwegian Air International (Dublin). All of the 787s are registered in Ireland.
Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-8 EI-LNA (msn 35304) lands at Malaga with Olympic skater Sonja Henie on the tail.
Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian Long Haul) (Norwegian Air International) (Norwegian.com) has issued this statement concerning the issuance of an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) from the state of Ireland for subsidiary Norwegian Air International Limited (Dublin) on February 12. Norwegian’s long haul Boeing 787s operations will be transferred to this new subsidiary.
Norwegian issued this statement (translated from Norwegian):
Irish authorities have awarded Norwegian Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and license to Norwegian’s wholly owned subsidiaries Norwegian Air International Limited, which has its administration in Dublin.
The operation of the Norwegian’s long-haul routes will, with the new permit will be transferred to Norwegian Air International Limited (NAI). The airline has established management and essential government functions in Dublin and is ready to operate under the Irish Aviation Authority.
There are several reasons why the Norwegian has established long-distance company in Dublin. The main reason is the availability of future traffic rights to and from the EU. Norwegian has an order for over 260 new aircraft and plans to launch several new routes to and from Europe. Norwegian Air International’s establishment in Ireland does not affect the export guarantees attached to the company’s financing. Besides that Ireland has an aviation authority of good repute, the country is also a sort of hub for the airline industry – including all major leasing companies such as Norwegian partners with offices in Dublin.
The choice of Ireland, not because the country has specific rules that allow American or Asian crews, with both politicians and unions have claimed. In fact, Norwegian could have based its long-distance company in any other European country and yet used American and Asian crews, as several other European airlines have done for years. The only exceptions are Norway and to some extent Denmark who have chosen to retain outdated rules regarding this.
Transfer of new AOC
The transfer of the first Dreamliner plane to the new EU AOC: one implemented on February 12 and was done in conjunction with scheduled maintenance. The remaining aircraft will be transferred. U.S. transport authorities will now consider its application for traffic rights asserted
Norwegian’s long-haul flights to and from the United States. This is regulated under the Open Skies agreement between the U.S. and the EU, which means that an operator from any party that meets the conditions, shall be entitled to operate under this agreement. It granted the operating license and the license in Ireland means that Norwegian meets all the necessary requirements.
Competitors and unions have made a number of false accusations against both Norwegian and Ireland. This is despite the EU’s transport authorities, Irish and Norwegian regulators have repeatedly disproved it. Norwegian expects the approval of the application of the United States in compliance with the Open Skies Agreement as Norwegian has the same rights as before when the aircraft were moved from Norway to the EU.
In other news, Norwegian has contracted for four Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners for delivery in 2017 and 2018. With the new agreement, Norwegian’s 787 fleet will increase to 14 aircraft.
The four aircraft will be leased from International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC). The new aircraft will be in service in 2017 and 2018.
Norwegian has three Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners in the current fleet and five more on order. Further, the company has already signed an agreement for two Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners with deliveries in the first quarter of 2016. In total, Norwegian will have a fleet of 14 long-haul 787 aircraft, with four to be delivered in 2014, one in 2015, two in 2016, two in 2017 and two in 2018.
This larger Dreamliner model accommodates more passengers and is more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly than the 787-8 model. Boeing has already made a series of test flights and the aircraft type will be in commercial operation later in 2014. The agreement has been signed with the International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC).
Finally, Norwegian announced an annual profit before tax of 437 million Norwegian kroner (NOK) ($71.6 million). For the fourth quarter, Norwegian reported a profit of 283 million kroner.
2013 is the seventh year in a row that Norwegian has reported a profit.
Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Norwegian Long Haul’s (now Norwegian Air International) Boeing 787-8 EI-LNA (man 35304) arrives in London (Heathrow).