Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has filed its application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to provide daily, nonstop service between John Wayne Airport, Orange County (SNA) and Lic. Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR) in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, beginning June 7, 2015, subject to approvals from relevant governmental agencies.
In addition, Kelly announced the Company’s plans to add Saturday service between Baltimore/Washington International Airport and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos, Mexico, beginning on June 13, 2015, subject to approvals from relevant governmental agencies.
Additionally the airline will start daily Kansas City-New York (LaGuardia) flights on April 8, 2015.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8H4 N8645A (msn 36907) with the Split Scimitar Winglets arrives in Los Angeles.
Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) currently operates its Boeing 787s to the United States under its Norwegian Long Haul division (Oslo). The company would like to move the operation to Ireland as Norwegian Air International where the aircraft are registered. The European Union (EU) through its European Commission has request an “urgent” meeting with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) about the pending application. Several union groups have opposed the application. The EC issued this statement:
In an unprecedented move, the European Commission requested an urgent meeting between the European Union and the United States to discuss Norwegian Air International’s pending application for a foreign air carrier permit before the U.S. Department of Transportation. The extraordinary meeting, which is being requested by the Commission on behalf of the European Union as a party to the U.S-EU Open Skies Agreement, sends a clear message that the European Union is closely watching Norwegian Air International’s application, to fly to the U.S from several cities in Europe which has been pending for over eight months.
Norwegian Air International welcomes the European Union’s action to protect the rights of European airlines under the U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement, which obligates parties to grant operating authority “with minimum procedural delay.” Asgeir Nyseth, CEO of Norwegian Air International, said, “We are confident that the Department of Transportation will do the right thing and grant our application without further delay.”
Norwegian Air International’s application has taken nearly four times as long as applications of other European carriers applying for the same authority. “We look forward to bringing new competitive and affordable fares on new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft to the U.S.-Europe market,” said Nyseth. With over 300 U.S. based crew, and plans for a pilot base in New York, Norwegian’s new service will bolster the U.S. economy through increased tourism, jobs, and support of the nation’s largest exporter, Boeing.
Copyright Photo: Robbie Shaw/AirlinersGallery.com. Norwegian Long Haul’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner EI-LND (msn 35310) with Norwegian Marthoner Grete Waitz on the tail holds shot of the runway at London’s Gatwick Airport. The flight was headed to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) has filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for route authority to start scheduled passenger service between Houston (Bush Intercontinental) and Cancun, Toluca and San Jose del Cabo. If approved, which is expected, Spirit will compete against United Airlines and AeroMexico.
Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N611NK (msn 4996) arrives at Washington’s Reagan National Airport (DCA).
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) decision to continue processing the application for the Norwegian EU-based subsidiary does not affect long-haul flights between Europe and the USA. Norwegian Air Shuttle has all rights to fly. The subsidiary Norwegian Air International (NAI) (Dublin) is still waiting for a permanent permit to fly.
The decision by the DOT means that it needs more time to process the application for a permanent permit to fly for NAI. The license will be the same as Norwegian already has in the parent company Norwegian Air Shuttle (Oslo). DOT has also not granted the application by NAI for a temporary permit to fly. Norwegian expects the American authorities, based on the Open Skies agreement between Europe and the USA , will approve the applications that have been considered too long. NAI is in every respect an EU company that got its Irish flight license in February 2014.
Norwegian flies today with Norwegian pilot’s license and has all air rights and is therefore not dependent on a temporary permit for the NAI subsidiary. NAI must have a permanent permit issued by American authorities to fly to the European-based flight certificate (AOC).
“It is unfortunate that American authorities are further delaying our application that have been considered for over six months. We look forward to answering any new questions that the ministry has so that we can get a permanent permit to fly without further delay”, says Asgeir Nyseth, CEO of NAI.
Both the European Commission and the Irish authorities support NAI’s rights to fly under the Open Skies Agreement. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has also approved the application and confirmed that the NAI meets all the required safety requirements.
“Norwegian DOT expects to see through all the false accusations and the massive campaigns that have been waged to stop us, both among competitors and unions. Norwegian does exactly what the Obama administration wants; create new jobs and contribute to increased tourism and growth in the tourism industry” continues Nyseth.
Great support from the United States
Norwegian has received considerable political support in the United States, including the three previous transport ministers from both the Democratic and Republican side, as well as local authorities and airports. In addition, tourist organizations, the US Travel Association and the Travel Technology Association have shown great support.
Norwegian started the long haul division in 2013 with new, fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The company now has three long-haul bases; in New York, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and Bangkok. The fourth base is now established at London Gatwick. 300 American cabin crews are based in the United States.
Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Norwegian Long Haul’s Boeing 787-8 EI-LNF (msn 35313) lands at Stockholm (Arlanda).
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).
Dreamjet (Paris) has filed an application with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to operate all-business Boeing 757-200 flights from Paris to New York (the airports were not specified). Dreamjet still needs the final approvals to fly as an airline from the French government. The new paper airline is proposing to start trans-Atlantic operations as early as June if it can get the approvals to fly. However the application has now been grouped with the controversial application of Norwegian Air International of Ireland (Norwegian Air Shuttle).
Frantz Yvelin, founder of the previous all-business L’Avion (which was sold to British Airways), has been rumored as the co-founder of this new venture.
ALPA issued this statement on the application of Dreamjet and Norwegian Air International:
The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to make clear the stark contrast between Dreamjet’s garden variety application for a DOT foreign air carrier permit and Norwegian Air International’s (NAI) request for authority to operate a business model that will put the livelihood of thousands of U.S. airline workers at risk.
“In contrast, Norwegian Air International’s application is based on an unacceptable business model that should be rejected.”
ALPA’s filing detailed the difference in a reply to NAI’s answer to Dreamjet’s application for a foreign air carrier permit.
“Dreamjet’s application could not be more different from Norwegian Air International’s effort to cheat the system by avoiding Norwegian labor law,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president.
In a reply filed jointly with the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) and the European Cockpit Association, ALPA states that NAI’s application for a foreign air carrier permit is a “far cry from that presented to the Department by Dreamjet and by the many other unopposed applications that have been presented to the Department by European carriers following implementation of the Air Transport Agreement.”
With operations centered in Norway, NAI is attempting to operate its international long-haul flights as an Irish airline expressly to avoid Norwegian employment laws. It appears that NAI is using flight crews hired through a Singapore employment company on individual contracts with compensation well below that of its Norway-based employees.
“ALPA has a long history of championing a fair marketplace in which airlines compete on merit, schedule, customer service, and the routes they fly,” continued Moak. “We are not afraid of competition. U.S. airlines and their workers are eager for the opportunity to go head to head with any airline that competes fairly by the rules governing the global marketplace.”
This week, ALPA launched Save Our Skies (SOS), a multiplatform campaign designed to mobilize the American public to voice their collective opposition to actions that are harmful to U.S. airline industry workers’ jobs, including specifically NAI’s application for a foreign air carrier permit.
More than 30,000 people have signed the #denyNAI petition urging Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to reject the NAI scheme and stand up for U.S. airline workers, and more than 100 members of Congress have voiced concern or outright opposition to NAI’s DOT application.
“ALPA does not oppose Dreamjet’s application, just as we have not opposed the many other European airline applications under the U.S.-EU Open Skies agreement,” said Capt. Moak. “In contrast, Norwegian Air International’s application is based on an unacceptable business model that should be rejected.”
Copyright Photo: Arnd Wolf/AirlinersGallery.com. L’Avion launched business class flights on January 3, 2007 between Paris (Orly) and Newark using two Boeing 757-200s. However on July 2, 2008 the owners agreed to sell L’Avion in a £54 million deal with British Airways. BA merged L’Avion into its OpenSkies operation on April 4, 2009. L’Avion’s Boeing 757-230 F-HAVN (msn 25140) completes its final approach into Frankfurt in this striking livery.
United Airlines (Chicago) is being fined $1.1 million by the Department of Transportation (DOT) for ramp delays at the Chicago O’Hare hub.
The DOT issued this statement:
The U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) fined United Airlines $1.1 million for lengthy tarmac delays that took place at Chicago-O’Hare International Airport on July 13, 2012. The airline was ordered to cease and desist from future violations of the tarmac-delay rule.
This is the largest fine assessed for a tarmac-delay violation since the rule limiting long tarmac delays first took effect in April 2010. Of the $1.1 million, United will pay the United States $475,000; the remainder covers mitigation measures for affected passengers and significant corrective actions by United to enhance future compliance with tarmac delay requirements.
“It is unacceptable for passengers to be stranded in planes on the tarmac for hours on end,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We will continue to require airlines to adopt workable plans to protect passengers from lengthy tarmac delays and carry out these plans when necessary.”
United is being fined for 13 lengthy tarmac delays that took place on a day when severe thunderstorms and lightning caused several ramp closures and disrupted the movement of aircraft at O’Hare. Delays by United and its United Express code-share affiliates exceeded the three-hour limit for tarmac delays by as little as two minutes and as much as 77 minutes. Although United had a contingency plan for tarmac delays, DOT’s Aviation Enforcement Office found that the airline did not implement the plan during these delays, and that the plan was inadequate to cover foreseeable weather emergencies in which there were more planes on the ground than space at gates. The Enforcement Office also found that United did not contact airport personnel or other airlines for assistance during the tarmac delays. Additionally, on two United Express flights, the lavatories were inoperable during part of the delays.
Under DOT rules, U.S. airlines operating aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats are prohibited from allowing their domestic flights to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours at U.S. airports without giving passengers an opportunity to leave the plane. Exceptions to the time limits are allowed only for safety, security or air traffic control-related reasons. The rules also require airlines to provide adequate food and water, ensure that lavatories are working and, if necessary, provide medical attention to passengers during long tarmac delays.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 N405UA (msn 452) arrives at the Chicago (O’Hare) hub.