Published on : Thursday, May 26, 2016
Norwegian, the World’s Best Low-Cost Long-Haul Airline and the world’s fastest-growing global airline, has received tremendous support for its Ireland-based subsidiary Norwegian Air International (NAI), which is awaiting approval from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) for its air operator certificate (AOC). On April 15, the DOT issued an order proposing to grant a foreign air carrier permit to NAI. With broad support from dozens of stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic, NAI looks forward to DOT’s final order finalizing its decision and serving the U.S. market.
Over the past two and a half years, NAI’s application has received wide support from the aviation industry. Three former U.S. Secretaries of Transportation – Andrew H. Card, Jr, Norman Y. Mineta, and Mary E. Peters – have voiced their support for issuance of NAI’s foreign air carrier permit – not once, but twice. They join a long list of supporters, including U.S. airports across the country – from Oakland to Denver to Fort Lauderdale to Orlando – as well as leading consumer groups like U.S. Travel; airlines like FedEx, Atlas and RyanAir; almost 150 of Norwegian’s U.S.-based crew; thousands of individual consumers; the Irish Government; and many Irish businesses and consumer groups.
The three former Secretaries “encourage approval of NAI’s application because it satisfies all legal and regulatory requirements in U.S. law and the U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement … we relayed to Congress the importance of this agreement with our European partners as one of the most pro-growth, pro-consumer initiatives implemented by our government during the previous two decades … DOT should finish expeditiously the job of granting final approval of NAI’s application.”
Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, which represents all components of the U.S. travel industry, stated to the DOT: “NAI’s proposed service will improve competition along transatlantic routes, encourage greater travel to the U.S. from key European markets, and help the U.S. achieve the Administration’s goal of attracting 100 million international visitors by 2021 … Flights to new destinations allow travel to better fulfill its role as a bridge of understanding between people and nations – surely one reason, even apart from the strong legal arguments, why the State Department believes that approval of the application is “in the foreign policy interests of the United States.”
“We are extremely grateful for all the support we have received, both here in the U.S. and in Europe, including the Irish government,” said Norwegian’s CEO and founder Bjørn Kjos. “We are confident the Department of Transportation will approve Norwegian Air International’s application and we hope they will do so shortly. Approval of NAI will result in more U.S. aviation sector jobs, enable Norwegian to expand its already large pool of American-based cabin crew, and deliver much needed competition and affordable fares to consumers on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as open up new transatlantic routes currently not served by any other airline.”
Norwegian has more than 400 American-based cabin crew in the U.S., more than any other foreign airline. The carrier has two U.S. crew bases: one in Fort Lauderdale and one in New York.
Norwegian currently offers 40 nonstop routes from the U.S. to London, Paris, Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Bergen and the Caribbean, providing more European routes than any other European airline.