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.