Sir, – Sadly in his letter (August 9th), Capt Cullen of the Irish Air Line Pilots' Association (IALPA) chose once again to repeat unfounded allegations about Norwegian Air International (NAI) that have been dismissed many times before – for the benefit of your readers, and indeed Capt Cullen, please allow me to dismiss them once again and set out the facts.
It is welcome that Capt Cullen has finally conceded that NAI’s crew “may well be EU or US citizensr” but he still repeats the false allegation that these are under contracts governed by Asian law – this is simply untrue as is already evident today. NAI has aircraft operating from eight European bases with 400 pilots and 900 cabin crew all on European contracts of employment.
Equally in the US, Norwegian has the largest number of US crew of any foreign airline, all employed under US contracts.
The simple fact is that our crew are employed under the labour laws in the country in which they are based.
Capt Cullen asks why we have set up an Irish subsidiary, so let me explain the simple reason. Setting up our Irish subsidiary Norwegian Air International was crucial to give us a foothold in the EU – it allows us to access traffic rights all over the world that EU members have access to but which a non-EU country like Norway does not.
NAI has a headquarters in Dublin with 80 staff and a large number of Irish-registered aircraft already operating over the skies of Europe.
The proposed new routes from Cork are part of our wider plans for continued expansion in Ireland. There is no “flag of convenience” here as is wrongly suggested.
Capt Cullen also chooses to ignore the significant support NAI has received on both sides of the Atlantic. Three former US Secretaries of Transportation have urged approval of NAI’s application which has also received widespread support from the EU, the Irish Government, airports and major airlines, as well as huge public support.
The fact remains that Norwegian Air International meets all requirements under the EU-US Open Skies Agreement and the US Department of Transportation have already stated that NAI “appears to meet the DOT’s normal standards for award of a permit and that there appears to be no legal basis to deny NAI’s application”.
We are confident the Department of Transportation will approve Norwegian Air International’s application and we hope they will do so shortly. – Yours, etc,