Norwegian waits on green light to begin US service
Norwegian Airlines – Europe's third-biggest low-cost carrier – is still waiting on an Irish air operator's certificate (AOC) that would allow it to run its new transatlantic service out of Ireland.
The airline, which has already leased office space near Dublin Airport and launched the new service last month, has a temporary certificate from Norwegian authorities to allow it to operate the long-haul arm, but that permission expires on December 23.
It applied some time ago for its Irish AOC so it can run its new low-cost transatlantic service from a Dublin HQ. It's not offering services from Ireland.
But securing an Irish AOC will enable Norwegian to bypass more onerous labour laws in its home country. It's using cheaper crews from countries in Asia to operate its new division. If it had to adhere to its own country's labour requirements, the transatlantic service would not be financially viable.
Norwegian's application for an Irish AOC has been returned to the airline twice by the Irish Aviation Authority, which has sought additional information from the carrier.
Norwegian has also said its operation director, Asgeir Nyseth, will be moving to the airline's new Dublin office to become the so-called 'accountable manager' for the airline's long-haul arm in respect of an Irish AOC.
The Norwegian government has told the airline that it won't extend the temporary AOC it has beyond December 23. SAS has said it will also oppose any plans to extend that AOC in the event the Irish AOC is not granted in time.
Norwegian has previously said it remains confident of receiving its Irish AOC by the end of this year.
In October, Norwegian revealed a number of new long-haul services. From next year, it will fly from London's Gatwick airport to Los Angeles, New York's JFK and Fort Lauderdale in Florida. The starting price for a one-way ticket to JFK from Gatwick is £149 (€180). Passengers have to pay extra for meals, a baggage allowance and allocated seating.