Norwegian Air Shuttle CEO Bjørn Kjos will reinforce the benefits Norwegian Air International (NAI) service will bring to competition in the transatlantic market, the traveling public, and the global aviation industry. Kjos will again call on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to once and for all approve Norwegian’s application for a foreign air carrier permit that will provide American consumers lower fares and greater choice in air travel.
“Norwegian’s vision is ‘Everyone Should Afford to Fly,’ and it is a principle we intend to bring to individuals and families seeking to travel between the United States and Europe,” said Mr. Kjos. “NAI will provide the traveling public with an innovative, low-cost option that offers award-winning service to new and underserved destinations on brand-new Boeing Dreamliner aircraft. DOT approval of NAI’s application is the final barrier preventing American consumers from the choice they so desperately want and deserve.”
Norwegian Air International, which completed its DOT foreign air carrier permit application in February 2014, has received strong opposition from those interests seeking to undermine competition, limit consumer choice and maintain the status quo. Close to 90 percent of transatlantic air traffic is controlled by the three airline mega-alliances that are permitted to operate with immunity from U.S. antitrust laws. As a consequence, airfares have risen significantly without commensurate improvements in service, and “capacity discipline” by the alliances has severely limited growth in the number of available passenger seats while pushing U.S. airline profits to record levels.
“I believe the values of innovation, competition and the rule of law – so highly prized here in the United States – will serve to overcome the opposition NAI has received from entrenched interests,” said Kjos. “I am confident that adherence to international agreements and the law will be the factors upon which DOT ultimately relies to decide this matter. I am equally confident NAI’s application will be approved by DOT, albeit far overdue.”
Norwegian Air International will open a market of new travelers previously unable to afford the high fares currently offered by the legacy carriers, while serving more destinations worldwide. NAI will directly contribute to President Obama’s goal of generating 100 million foreign visitors to the United States by 2021. Norwegian already employs 300 American cabin crewmembers in Fort Lauderdale and New York, and currently is recruiting American pilots at its New York pilot base. Of the 300 cabin crew, for which Norwegian received more than 7,00 applications, the vast majority worked previously for U.S. airlines and chose to join Norwegian for the pay, benefits and team-spirited environment.
NAI meets all statutory and regulatory requirements to serve the United States and is entitled to DOT approval “with minimum procedural delay” under the U.S.—E.U. Air Transport Agreement. Nevertheless, a full nine months after applying to DOT, NAI continues to await a decision that will allow it to begin low-fare transatlantic service to and from the United States.
“The time is well-past due for the Department of Transportation to fulfill its legal responsibility and approve NAI’s application,” said Kjos.