NAI’s Sister Airline, Norwegian Air UK, Denied Foreign Air Carrier Exemption

In a decision that the Machinists Union hopes could be precursor to deny Norwegian Air International’s (NAI) request for a foreign air carrier permit, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) yesterday denied Norwegian Air UK’s (NAUK)—NAI’s UK sister airline—application for a foreign air carrier exemption.

“The Machinists Union applauds yesterday’s decision by the DOT to deny Norwegian Air UK (NAUK) a foreign air carrier permit exemption,” said General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “We urge the DOT to also finally reject NAI’s application, so it cannot game the system and hurt US airline workers.”

The IAM and its AFL-CIO sister unions submitted formal comments to the DOT in January opposing NAUK’s application for an exemption, arguing that the carrier’s business model would violate certain provisions of the US-EU Air Transport Agreement (ATA). Read the comments here:http://ttd.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Norwegian-Air-UK-Limited-Comments.pdf

Norwegian Air International’s business model exploits the “flags of convenience” model used in the maritime industry. The “flags of convenience” model allows an airline, for example, based in Norway to create a subsidiary on paper only in another country to take advantage of lax labor, safety and tax regulations and circumvent such laws in its home country.

The DOT is still considering NAI’s application for a foreign air carrier permit and a decision is expected soon.