The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has today announced it will continue to review the foreign air carrier permit application for Norwegian’s British-based subsidiary Norwegian UK (NUK) to operate flights between the United States and Europe.
Norwegian UK’s permit application thereby remains pending, but Norwegian is confident that it will receive its permanent authority.
A Norwegian spokesperson said: “Norwegian UK is a recognised British airline, with a large UK base and the support of the UK Government. Given Norwegian UK’s clear and legitimate right to a Foreign Carrier Permit, we therefore remain confident we will receive final approval.”
Norwegian UK should be entitled to a Foreign Carrier Permit under the terms of the Open Skies Agreement. Norwegian UK was granted a UK Operating License by the UK Civil Aviation Authority in November 2015, allowing the airline to be established.
The UK government has expressed strong support for Norwegian UK and has stated that “Norwegian UK’s application complies with all DOT requirements […] we urge the DOT to fully discharge the U.S.’s international obligations and to grant Norwegian UK authorization to operate forthwith”. Additionally, the US State Department has affirmed that that granting Norwegian UK’s application is in the foreign policy interest of the United States.
Norwegian is now the third-largest airline group operating at London’s Gatwick Airport, operating eight long-haul routes and more than 40 European routes. Norwegian also operates European routes from Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh airports.
Norwegian’s U.S. flights currently operate under the Norwegian Air Shuttle Air Operator Certificate, which allows the airline to operate between the U.S. and Europe. With U.S. approval for Norwegian UK, the airline will be able to more effectively utilise its long-haul fleet and establish a seamless operation, including the use of the same aircraft on both U.S. and other long-haul routes to destinations such as Asia, South Africa and South America.