U.S. Pilots Oppose Controversial Norwegian Airline Permit

 

cherrera@miamiherald.com

The Air Line Pilots Association is taking a stand against a controversial Norwegian airline that, it says, could threaten U.S. jobs.

Tuesday, the association ran advertisements on major media websites in major U.S. cities, including the Miami Herald, protesting the application of Norwegian Air International to fly into the U.S. Norwegian Air International is a subsidiary of low-cost giant Norwegian Air Shuttle, which operates flights to 126 global destinations.

At issues are actions that, says the ALPA, are intended to circumvent the terms of the U.S.-European Union “Open Skies” agreement. Under that agreement, airlines cannot circumsvent labor standards by registering in a country with less stringent standards. The airline is registered in Ireland and hires many of its crew in Asia, where labor costs typically are cheaper than in Western countries, says Michael Robbins, managing director of government and public affairs for the pilots association.

“An airline should not be allowed to move its company solely for the purpose of getting low labor costs,” Robbins said.

The pilots association has gained 30,000 signatures and the support of more than 100 members of Congress in their “Save Our Skies” campaign, a massive effort to push the Department of Transportation to deny NAI’s request.

NAI’s parent airline, Norwegian Air Shuttle, began flights between Fort Lauderdale and Norway, Denmark and Sweden in late November at a discounted price without raising any opposition.

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