US authorities delay granting license to Norwegian

17 January 2016 (Last Updated January 17th, 2016 18:30)

The US authorities have delayed the license to Norwegian that planned to operate the first transatlantic flights in May from Cork Airport in Ireland to Boston.

delay

The US authorities have delayed the license to Norwegian that planned to operate the first transatlantic flights in May from Cork Airport in Ireland to Boston.

The European Commission (EU) is expected to take up the issue with the US Department of Transportation (DoT) over the coming weeks, reported Irish Examiner.

By delaying the license, the US authorities have breached the EU-US Open Skies deal, according to the report.

The Open Skies deal was initiated in 2007 and as per its terms, any airline registered by an EU member state can travel from anywhere in the EU to anywhere in the US.

"There is no statutory deadline or current estimate as to when the analysis will be complete."

The low-cost Norwegian airline applied for a foreign carrier permit with the US DoT two years ago for its Irish unit Norwegian Air International (NAI) to operate flights five times a week from Cork to the US from May.

If the service begins, it will be a game-changer for the Cork Airport, reported the publication.

However, the license application process faced hurdles after objections raised by major US airlines and several unions.

According to a DoT spokesperson, the NAI's permit request is still being assessed.

The spokesperson was quoted by the Irish Examiner as saying: "The application involves novel and complex issues, and we are taking the necessary time to evaluate the long-term application appropriately.

"There is no statutory deadline or current estimate as to when the analysis will be complete."

Republic of Ireland Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe was quoted by the publication as saying: "NAI is an EU airline licensed by the Irish aviation authorities in full compliance with EU law.

"As such it should be allowed to avail of the rights available to all EU airlines under the EU-US Open Skies Agreement.

"When first put in place back in 2007, the Open Skies Agreement with the US was designed to encourage innovative competition in the transatlantic air market.

"New services from smaller airports such as Cork, which have never had transatlantic services, is precisely the type of innovation that the agreement was designed to facilitate."

Paschal is optimistic that the Commission will take appropriate steps to help resolve the dispute.

As Norway is not a member of the EU, the Norwegian airline had set up the Irish subsidiary to avail the Open Skies Agreement.


Image: US DoT delays giving licence to Norwegian Air International to operate flights from Cork Airport to Boston. Photo: courtesy of pl:Wikipedysta:A./Wikipedia.