US pilots not giving up on Norwegian plan

February 3rd, 2017 7:09 AM

By Siobhan Cronin

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American pilots are continuing their opposition to airline Norwegian’s permit to fly from Cork, despite the fact the deadline for cancelling the decision passed this week.

The American airline pilots’ association, ALPA, said this week they were ‘reaching out’ to the new US Transport secretary, Elaine Chao.

 The organisation had been hoping that President Trump would use the ’61 days’ grace’ for the permit to revoke it, but that deadline passed earlier this week.

US airline staff fear that allowing a low-fares airline like Norwegian to fly transatlantic will lead to a drop in wages and conditions in their industry.

‘ALPA pilots are reaching out to Secretary Chao urging the Department of Transportation to uphold the Trump administration’s ‘America First’ governing philosophy and immediately examine the Obama Administration’s grant of a foreign air carrier permit to Norwegian Air International, in order to revoke or suspend that permit,’ the pilots said.

Several pilots’ organisations held a protest in Washington on January 24th to urge the cancellation of the permit. Norwegian plans to start flights from Cork and Shannon to the Boston and New York area this summer.

ALPA said: ‘We urge Secretary Chao to begin the process to overturn an Obama Administration’s decision that hurts American aviation workers and creates an unlevel playing field for foreign air carriers.’

In response, a Norwegian spokesperson said it had been proceeding with its plans since the permit was granted in December and didn’t forsee any changes.

‘For Norwegian, the DOT approval back in December was the green light for us to go ahead with our plans so that’s what we’ve been working on,’ they told The Southern Star.

‘In the next few weeks we expect to announce new transatlantic routes from Ireland and the US, offering some truly affordable fares that will allow as many people as possible to fly,’ the spokesperson added.



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