FORT WORTH, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Allied Pilots Association, certified collective bargaining agent for the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, expressed strong opposition to the Department of Transportation’s decision to grant tentative approval to Norwegian Air International’s application for a foreign air carrier permit.
The DOT decision is now open for public comment before the department makes a final decision. If the DOT decision stands, Norwegian Air International would be able to fly to and from the United States in direct competition with U.S. carriers on long-haul international routes.
“Norwegian Air International is a blatant flag of convenience scheme based on scouring the globe for cheap labor to undercut the competition,” said APA President Capt. Keith Wilson. “There’s no other plausible explanation for its convoluted corporate structure — an Irish subsidiary that won’t serve Ireland and hires most of its crews in Thailand through a Singapore-based recruitment firm.
“APA will appeal the DOT in the strongest possible terms to revise its tentative decision. The hundreds of thousands of hard-working, middle-class Americans employed by U.S. carriers deserve more thoughtful public policy,” he said. “After more than a decade marked by serial bankruptcy filings and consolidation, U.S. airlines are finally on solid financial ground. It makes no sense for the DOT to sacrifice that hard-earned well being.”
Wilson noted the significant bipartisan opposition to Norwegian Air International’s efforts to secure a foreign air carrier permit, with more than 200 members of Congress sending letters to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox urging him to deny the carrier’s application.
“Many lawmakers recall how flag of convenience decimated the U.S. maritime industry,” Wilson said. “Why would we permit the same large-scale job destruction to occur in the airline industry? This cannot stand.”
Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association — the largest independent pilots union in the United States — is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, including several hundred pilots on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union’s website is www.alliedpilots.org. American Airlines is the world’s largest passenger airline.