Elaine Chao stays quiet on Norwegian Air’s US market bid

Incoming transportation chief’s refusal to take stance a boost for Irish-registered airline

Incoming head of the US department of transportation Elaine Chao  declined  to take a position on Norwegian Air International’s entry into the country. Photograph: Chris Kleponis/AFP/Getty Images

Incoming head of the US department of transportation Elaine Chao declined to take a position on Norwegian Air International’s entry into the country. Photograph: Chris Kleponis/AFP/Getty Images

 

Elaine Chao, incoming head of the US department of transportation, declined at a US Senate hearing to take a position on Norwegian Air International’s entry into the country, in what is seen as a boost for the Irish-registered airline.

Ms Chao is US president-elect Donald Trump’s choice for transportation secretary, giving her an influential role over aviation and a likely say in whether he should block her department’s recent decision to grant Norwegian a licence to fly to the United States.

Quizzed at a senate approval hearing on various policy issues, Ms Chao declined to take a position on Norwegian’s bid to enter the US market. The decision to grant it a licence aroused the ire of aviation and transport unions, who formally opposed its application.

Granted permit

Her decision not to take a position was seen as positive for the airline. While the department of transportation granted it a foreign carrier’s permit in December, it is still open to Mr Trump to block this approval.

A recent letter from more than 100 congress men and women to Mr Trump called on him to use this power and either block or stall the granting of a licence to the airline.

The carrier’s parent, Norwegian Air Shuttle, plans to use the Irish-based subsidiary to launch cut-price flights between cities in the European Union and United States, including services linking Cork and Shannon to airports near Boston and New York.

Ms Chao and her department could also have an impact on the fortunes of another Irish company, CRH, whose North American arm is one of the biggest suppliers of road surfacing material asphalt and building products in the US.

Mr Trump plans to spend $1 trillion (€940 billion) repairing the US’s roads and infrastructure in what could prove to be a boost to CRH’s subsidiaries. Ms Chao will oversee the programme as transportation secretary.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.