Norwegian budget airline unit gets US permit

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A Boeing Co. 737 passenger aircraft, operated by Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, takes off at London Gatwick Airport in Crawley, U.K.

Norwegian Air Shuttle's UK subsidiary on Monday received a tentative U.S. foreign air carrier permit, prevailing against U.S. airlines who complained that the Scandinavian budget carrier would undercut them and hurt American businesses and jobs.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said it had reached its decision to tentatively grant flying rights to the subsidiary, Norwegian Air UK, after considering the opposition's primary arguments against the airline's Irish unit, Norwegian Air International (NAI).

The department also cited Norwegian's commitment to hire American crew alongside EU workers, countering U.S. carriers' complaints that the low-cost long-haul carrier would undermine U.S. wages and working standards.

The Department of Transportation in December authorized NAI to fly in and out of the United States following a years-long battle between U.S. airlines and the Norwegian carrier, setting off an ever-escalating transatlantic fare war between U.S. carriers and foreign budget competitors.

Of the Monday Transportation Department decision, a spokesman for Norwegian Air Shuttle said there were not any plans yet for Norwegian Air UK to launch any flights under its new flying rights, "but we are certainly looking forward to planning future operations."


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