The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced today that it will require additional time to reach a decision on Norwegian Air International’s (NAI) application for a foreign carrier permit to serve the U.S. from Europe. Until then, Norwegian Air Shuttle will continue to operate flights to the U.S. under its existing authority from DOT.
Norwegian urges DOT to expedite its review and issue NAI’s foreign carrier permit fly to the U.S. – once and for all. Today’s announcement to dismiss the exemption application “on procedural grounds,” simply gives DOT additional time to consider NAI’s permit application. It is not a denial. Norwegian Air Shuttle already holds a permit to fly between Europe and the U.S., and Norwegian Air Shuttle’s existing operations to the U.S. are not affected by today’s announcement.
“While we think it is unfortunate that DOT feels the need to further delay issuance of our permit, which has been pending now for over six months, Norwegian Air International stands behind its business – from its pilots and cabin crew to its affordable fare model to its desire to bring competition to the transatlantic market – and looks forward to receiving approval to operate without further delay,” said Asgeir Nyseth, CEO of NAI.
The EU-US Open Skies Agreement requires that permits be issued with “minimum procedural delay.” Both the European Commission and the Irish Government have clearly voiced support for NAI’s application. Norwegian enjoys strong support from a wide range of local communities, airports, consumer groups, and airlines as well as three former U.S. Secretaries of Transportation: Norman Mineta, Mary E. Peters and Andy Card. In addition, major news organizations such as the Wall Street Journal and USA Today have given their editorial support of NAI’s application. “Norwegian Air International looks forward to bringing its award-winning service to the U.S., boosting tourism, and creating new American jobs. It’s time to let NAI fly.”