In a filing today with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) and other labor organizations did not oppose a Norwegian Air UK (NAUK) request for expedited processing of its application to fly to and from the United States, but the union continued to maintain that the DOT must reject the application because it fails to explain how the airline’s crews will be employed or how its business model will affect U.S. jobs.
“ALPA is not surprised by the timing of Norwegian Air UK’s request, given the DOT’s recent decision to undermine strong labor protections and U.S. trade agreements by granting a permit to Norwegian Air International, which has a business plan expressly designed to erode labor standards,” said Capt. Tim Canoll, ALPA’s president.
Unlike its sister carrier, Irish-flagged Norwegian Air International, NAUK is a UK airline. What NAUK’s employment structure will be for its long-haul pilots and flight attendants is unclear, as are its potential effects on U.S. jobs and the international airline industry.
“The DOT can’t ignore the fact that Norwegian Air UK’s foreign air carrier permit application fails to provide even basic information about how flight crews will be employed or how U.S. jobs will be affected, factors that are essential to determining whether the business model satisfies the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement,” continued Capt. Canoll.
In a June 2015 public statement, former Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari, the senior DOT official who oversaw the U.S.-EU negotiations, affirmed that the labor provisions of the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement (ATA) apply to NAUK’s foreign air carrier permit application and stated that:
“A decision whether or not to grant operating authority based on compliance with these provisions is at the heart of implementation of the ATA.”
“As it stands, NAUK’s application raises serious questions and the DOT should seek the information necessary to make certain that Norwegian UK will not do business with an unfair economic advantage over U.S. airlines and threaten U.S. aviation workers’ jobs,” said Capt. Canoll.
“If Norwegian Air UK needs a response today regarding its application, then the answer must be ‘denied.’”