US pilots association lobbies US government to reject Norwegian long-haul subsidiary

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By admin August 19, 2014 14:37

US pilots association lobbies US government to reject Norwegian long-haul subsidiary

The US Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA), joined by the AFL-CIO’s Transportation  Trades Department and the European Cockpit Association, has called upon the Department of Transportation to reject Norwegian Air International’s bid to operate to the US on the grounds that the airline will operate under a “flag of convenience” business model that does not adhere to the correct standards of employment law.

ALPA president Lee Moak said: “The Department of Transportation must exercise its authority under the US-EU Air Transport Agreement and deny Norwegian Air International’s request to fly to and from the United States. NAI’s business model violates the principles of the agreement and is not in the U.S. public interest.”

Norwegian intends to base its long-haul subsidiary in Ireland and recruit flight and cabin crew from Asia via contract agencies. Critics insist the arrangement contravenes employment law and offers an unfairly advantageous taxation regime.

ALPA Airport and Ground Environment Group Chairman Steve Jangelis said: “This kind of business model has already caused serious problems in the bus and cruise industry, but taking it airborne would pose more serious security threats.”

Jangelis added: “Would the mayor be happy if a taxi driver shows up at Orlando International Airport who is licensed in Panama, who has a vehicle  built by Chevy in Detroit, but yet is trained in Argentina [and who] then has license plates from Singapore? Would they find that acceptable? They obviously would not.”

Norwegian has denounced ALPA’s charges, stating that the objection stems from fear of competition.

Norwegian’s spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen said: “The legacy carriers did everything in their power to stop low-cost carriers like Southwest Airlines [from entering] the domestic skies. Now history is repeating itself as an airline from Norway is taking on the big guys in order to offer everyone affordable flights across the Atlantic. If the authorities listen to the legacy carriers and the unions, the losers will be customers, who will be left with no other option than airlines that offer astronomic fares and poor in-flight service. The American people deserve to have a choice.”

Sandaker-Nielsen added that Norwegian registered its subsidiary in Ireland in order to access future traffic rights to and from the European Union, as Norway is not an EU member.

admin
By admin August 19, 2014 14:37