Southwest Airlines‘ (Dallas) pilots, represented by the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA), issued this statement today in opposition to the application to the DOT by Norwegian Air International of Ireland:
The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) is joining numerous pilot groups across the United States along with Airlines for America to battle against Norwegian Air International’s application to the Department of Transportation that would provide them the ability to circumvent labor laws of their home country.
SWAPA’s opposition is contradicted by the Washington Airports Task Force who have chosen to support the Norwegian Air International (NAI) application. SWAPA has written to the Task Force to rethink their position and not oppose the many D.C.-area Southwest Airlines pilots.
NAI is an attempt by a Norwegian-owned entity to capitalize on the EU’s loose labor and aviation oversight regulations. They have applied for – and received – an Operating Certificate from Ireland although not one of their aircraft will operate from there. They have also contracted a Singapore-based company to staff their cockpits with Bangkok-based contract pilots (to evade EU labor and tax provisions).
“This ‘Flag of Convenience’ strategy is one that has decimated the U.S. Maritime industry,” said Captain Paul Jackson, Chair of SWAPA’s Governmental Affairs. “That industry was once robust and employed over 200,000 U.S. workers. Today the number of jobs has been reduced to around 2,500 due to the offshoring of work through foreign flag registrations of ships seeking the lax labor laws of those countries. Southwest pilots will not stand by and let this happen to the U.S. airline industry.”
“We are not opposing the entrance of an airline that competes fairly and doesn’t use the lax EU laws to drive out labor protections, bringing a questionable level of oversight to their operation,” continued Jackson. “We strongly believe that our product and the work of our industry can stand up to any competitor if they play by the rules in place and do not seek to lower costs at any price.”
Located in Dallas, Texas, the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) is a non-profit employee organization representing the more than 6,800 pilots of Southwest Airlines. SWAPA works to provide a secure and rewarding career for Southwest pilots and their families through negotiating contracts, defending contractual rights and actively promoting professionalism and safety.
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-5H4 N527SW (msn 26569) completes its final approach for the runway at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.