A Norwegian airline plans to register in Ireland and base its employees – hired through a Singaporean hiring agency – in Bangkok. Sounds like the setup for a bad joke, right?
But here’s the punch line: for the airline in question, Norwegian Air International (NAI), a subsidiary of Norwegian Air Shuttle this globetrotting business plan is all about avoiding Norway’s strong labor standards and social laws while gaining transatlantic air access to the United States. And in doing so, NAI is violating the 2010 U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement, which has a specific provision – Article 17 bis – that states that the “opportunities created by the Agreement are not intended to undermine labour standards or the labour-related rights and principles contained in the Parties’ respective laws.”
Which is exactly what NAI’s plan does.
In December 2013, NAI filed for a foreign air carrier permit with the U.S. Department of Transportation, and for an exemption that would allow it to begin service before the permit is formally approved. NAI’s application has been staunchly opposed by labor unions, European and American air carriers, and by the entire House of Representatives – Republicans and Democrats – several times over.
Together with the Air Line Pilots Association, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the Transport Workers Union, TTD has successfully convinced the DOT to dismiss NAI’s bid for an exemption under the grounds that due to the “novel and complex nature of this case,” a temporary exemption is not “appropriate or in the public interest.”
As NAI CEO Bjørn Kjos does his best to convince policymakers that NAI’s permit should be approved – while comparing them to the corrupt politicians in a certain Netflix miniseries – TTD and our affiliates are continuing our efforts to ensure that DOT makes the right decision and denies NAI’s foreign air carrier permit, protecting thousands of aviation jobs.