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Norwegian Air International (NAI) has welcomed a “long overdue” approval from the US Department of Transportation for its foreign carrier permit.

Several large US and European carriers had waged a two-and-a-half year battle to block the award, arguing that NAI’s Irish registration was a flag of convenience.

However, their case was dealt a major blow in April, when the DOT stated that the “NAI appears to meet DOT’s normal standards for award of a permit and that there appears to be no legal basis to deny NAI’s application”.

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Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a show cause order relating to the foreign air carrier permit application filed by Norwegian Air International (NAI), to operate flights to the U.S.

At the time, the DOT said: “NAI’s application led to an extensive number of filings that were submitted throughout the course of the case, both in support of and opposition to the application. The substantive legal and regulatory points raised by the parties reflected the novel and complex nature of the case, which required careful and comprehensive DOT review”.

Thus the DOT declared the order open for public comment by any interested parties and yesterday (May 9), the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) – an organisation that strongly opposes the application – launched an “outreach campaign” in order to inform Americans about the threat that NAI’s business plan poses to fair competition and U.S. jobs, emphasising that the Obama administration should deny it.

Tagged DOT, Norwegian, Airline

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Pilot representatives have warned that “off-the-radar” liberalisation talks at ICAO could see more airlines follow budget carrier Norwegian and seek operating licenses in countries unconnected to their flight operations.

The European Cockpit Association (ECA), which represents air crew at EU level, claims that ICAO’s proposals would fully open market access for international services “overnight”, as well as changing current rules on ownership and control of airlines.

“The fact that you don’t hear many voices against this agreement is not because there is a consensus, but because there is a deliberate and partisan effort to keep this deal off the radar,” said ECA president Dirk Polloczek.

Tagged ECA, ICAO, pilots, Norwegian, NAS

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