US hotel chiefs tell Obama to approve Cork flights
Published 02/09/2016 | 02:30
The chief executives of hotel chains including Hilton and Marriott have told Barack Obama that there has been an "inexcusable delay" in issuing a permit to Dublin-based Norwegian Air International (NAI) to operate flights between Europe and the United States.
In a letter to the US president, the hotel bosses have urged Mr Obama to ensure "immediate approval" of NAI's permit application.
NAI, a subsidiary of Norwegian Air Shuttle, has been trying for over two years to secure a permit from US authorities that will enable it to fly between Europe and the United States under the Open Skies agreement. NAI also wants to launch services from Cork to Boston and New York.
The US Department of Transportation said in April that it intended to grant the permit, but since then the process has stalled.
The European Commission has also sought arbitration on the matter.
"As the European Commission threatens formal arbitration against the United States on NAI's application, we ask that the US government quickly convene its inter-agency stakeholders to make a decision and avoid this process," the hotel and leisure bosses told Mr Obama this week. "A long, drawn-out arbitration proceeding is unlikely to serve the interests of the United States well. The timely approval of NAI's application is the right choice." The letter's signatories include Christopher Nassetta, the chief executive of Hilton Worldwide; Arne Sorenson, the chief executive of Marriott; Stephen Joyce, the chief executive of Choice Hotels International; and the heads of a number of US tourism and leisure groups.
US aviation unions are strongly opposed to NAI's plans.