The DOT denies Norwegian UK temporary authority to fly to the US

The review of London Gatwick-based Norwegian UK is separate from DOT’s review of Norwegian Air International (NAI), the Dublin-based Norwegian Air Shuttle subsidiary seeking a foreign air carrier permit to operate to the US, though DOT acknowledges there are “overlapping types of issues” in the two cases. DOT tentatively approved NAI’s foreign air carrier permit in April, but final approval has still not come amid a bevy of objections from US and European airlines and labor unions, prominently including the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and the European Cockpit Association.

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has dismissed Norwegian UK’s request for an exemption to fly to the US while DOT reviews the Norwegian Air Shuttle subsidiary’s application for a permanent foreign air carrier permit.

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DOT said it does not view granting Norwegian UK temporary permission to fly to the US “appropriate or in the public interest,” citing “novel and complex” issues raised by Norwegian UK’s foreign air carrier permit application.

Norwegian UK was granted an operating certificate by the UK Civil Aviation Authority in November. It had asked DOT to allow it to operate transatlantic flights while the department reviews its application for a permanent permit to fly between the UK and the US, which the airline believes it is entitled to under the EU-US Open Skies agreement that also includes Norway and Iceland.
“Norwegian UK’s application thereby remains pending, but Norwegian [Air Shuttle] is confident that [Norwegian UK] will receive its permanent authority,” Norwegian Air Shuttle said in a statement. “Norwegian UK should be entitled to a foreign carrier permit under the terms of the Open Skies agreement … With US approval for Norwegian UK, the airline will be able to more effectively utilize its long-haul fleet and establish a seamless operation, including the use of the same aircraft on both US and other long-haul routes to destinations such as Asia, South Africa and South America, which currently all other European airlines can.”Norwegian’s US flights currently operate under the Norwegian Air Shuttle air operator certificate, which allows the airline to operate between the US and Europe.

ALPA president Tim Canoll said DOT “took a stand for fair competition” in dismissing Norwegian UK’s request for temporary authority to serve the US, adding, “US airline pilots commend the DOT for seeking to ensure that foreign airlines do not gain an unfair economic advantage in competing against US airlines.”

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