The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has accepted the US Department of Transportation's (USDOT) decision to allow Norwegian Air International (NAI) to operate on Trans-Atlantic routes in accordance with the European Union (EU) / US OpenSkies Agreement.
The European Commission (EC) appealed on 1 December 2016 to be able to take authoritative judgement over a three-year dispute, during which the US was accused of breaking the EU-US Open Skies pact.
In December 2013, Norwegian Air Shuttle’s Irish subsidiary applied for rights to travel to the US but was opposed by legislators acting for the US airline industry, reported airtrafficmanagement.net.
The legislators blocked the application on the grounds of unfair labour practices.
IAA chief executive Eamonn Brennan said: “This is a very welcome development. NAI are now safely operating close to 50 aircraft on the Irish register all across Europe and this decision will help NAI to open up the Trans-Atlantic to more consumers from more regions.
“We're looking forward to seeing NAI finally have the chance to compete on the Trans-Atlantic and commence their operations from Ireland in the future.”
As stated by the EC, US authorities have taken much longer to allow NAI to travel to the US as a foreign operator, though a tentative permit was granted in April.
However, US airlines have opposed the approval, arguing that Norwegian’s employment of contract workers based in Thailand undermines labour standards.