Rejected: Norwegian Air Shuttle Bid for Flights Between Europe and the United States — But…
Anthony Foxx — who is the Secretary of Transportation of the United States — earlier this week issued a temporary setback to Norwegian Air Shuttle by rejecting the request for the carrier to immediately operate flights to the United States as Norwegian Air International while the airline awaits a permanent decision by the federal government on its application.
Back in October of 2013, an announcement from Norwegian Air Shuttle proclaimed that the airline would launch service between Gatwick Airport south of London and three destinations located in the United States — New York, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale — as of July of 2014 using Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft for as little as $150.00 each way.
Existing flights to the United States are not affected by the rejected request, according to this article by Joan Lowy of the Associated Press.
The request by Norwegian Air Shuttle has been controversial. Members of the Air Line Pilots Association, International have been concerned that the flights present a threat to the aviation industry in the United States because they allegedly would undercut the airfares of carriers based in the United States by as much as 50 percent on comparable routes.
A petition to Anthony Foxx and Barack Obama — the current President of the United States — has almost 30,000 signatures supporting the position of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, which claims that “a decision to oppose Norwegian Air Shuttle’s application to fly in and out of the U.S. should be a no brainer for the White House. U.S. jobs and the future of the U.S. aviation industry are at stake. U.S. pilots, and the millions of American air travelers whose lives are in their hands, are watching this closely and are expecting a decision that chooses U.S. carriers and pilots over sketchy foreign competitors.”
Norwegian Air International is applying to fly into the U.S. using an anti-competitive business model. They are hoping to compete with America’s air carriers on our turf while evading fair regulation and labor accountability.
There’s nothing wrong with healthy competition – but there’s nothing healthy about the tactics Norwegian Air International plans to use to undercut US companies. If their application goes through there will be nothing healthy about the loss of US jobs that will follow.
Business practices like NAI’s are harmful to American jobs in the best of times. When our economy is struggling to recover after years of recession, they could be devastating. Protect tens of thousands of hardworking Americans by denying NAI’s application for a Foreign Air Carrier permit.
Norwegian Air Shuttle — the third-largest low-cost carrier in Europe — has been able to take advantage of loopholes which are currently unavailable to airlines based in the United States. These loopholes include registering their fleet of long-haul aircraft in Ireland while hiring flight crew personnel based in Thailand who would reportedly work under Singaporean contracts.
Those who side with Norwegian Air Shuttle believe that the increased competition and lower airfares will give consumers more options and allow more travelers to be able to afford transatlantic flights.
Although I appreciate you posting your comments back in October, I am asking these questions again: is there room for transatlantic service operated by low-cost carriers without posing a significant threat to the established legacy carriers currently operating transatlantic routes — or do the legacy airlines have a legitimate concern? Is it possible that there is a market of passengers who currently do not patronize the airlines currently operating transatlantic flights but would take advantage of the service to be offered by Norwegian Air Shuttle? Should there be a policy by the government of the United States to prevent “a race to the bottom in the international air travel market” and create a level playing field for commercial airlines based in the United States, as called upon by the Air Line Pilots Association, International?
One thing is for certain: this debate is far from resolved, as the carrier urged the Department of Transportation to quickly approve the application of Norwegian Air International…