Tuesday 20 March 2018

Irish Norwegian Air unit gets $15m cash boost from parent

CEO of Norwegian Air Shuttle, Bjoern Kjos
CEO of Norwegian Air Shuttle, Bjoern Kjos
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Norwegian Air Shuttle has injected $15m (€13.2m) into its Dublin-based subsidiary, Norwegian Air International (NAI).

New filings at the companies office show that the boost was received by NAI in July.

NAI made a near $60m (€53m) loss last year, according to accounts recently filed here. It generated revenue of $719m in 2015, which included ticket and ancillary revenue of $577.7m and revenue from wet lease operations of $141.2m.

In April this year, Norwegian Air Shuttle put $25m into its Irish unit, while in February it injected $50m.

The cash received from its parent comes as NAI continues its efforts to secure a permit from US authorities that would enable it to fly between Europe and America.

NAI has been based in Dublin to avail of rights under the EU-US Open Skies agreement.

However, despite making its application to the US Department of Transportation for a permit over two years ago, it has still not received it. The EU has warned the US that the failure to issue the permit could damage wider trade relations between the pair. The EU has sought arbitration in the matter.

Norwegian group chief executive Bjorn Kjos has welcomed the arbitration move. AI wants to launch flights from Cork to Boston and New York as part of its route network if it receives the necessary permit.

But US aviation unions are opposed to NAI being allowed operate in America. They claim that the airline is based in Ireland in other to circumvent stricter labour laws in Norway, something the airline has consistently denied. Both sides have been lobbying heavily in the US.

Aviation unions have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to US Congressmen who have voiced opposition to NAI's plans. Norwegian Air Shuttle has paid over $1m to lobbyists to fight its case.

It appears almost certain now that a decision on NAI's permit won't be made until after the US presidential elections in November.

Irish Independent

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