Release #14.11
February 5, 2014

U.S. and European Airline Workers Storm Oslo with Avalanche of Opposition to Norwegian Air International Scheme
“DenyNAI” Website Cites Threat to Hundreds of Thousands of U.S. and European Airline Jobs

OSLO– Pilots from the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) joined airline industry employees from across Europe and North America in Oslo, Norway, today to make clear their collective, resolute opposition to Norwegian Air International’s (NAI) bid to dodge Norway’s labor laws. NAI’s plan contradicts the U.S.-EU air services agreement allowing the company to gain an unfair economic advantage in competing against other European and U.S. airlines for international passengers’ business.

“Norwegian Air International has concocted a blatant plan to avoid Norway’s labor laws and contradict the U.S.-EU air services agreement so that the company can gain an unfair advantage over airlines that do abide by their national laws and international agreements,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president. “If allowed to stand, NAI’s plan will unfairly threaten North American and European airlines’ ability to compete globally as well as the jobs of hundreds of thousands of airline employees. NAI’s attempt to cheat the system must be flatly rejected.”

At today’s Oslo strategic planning meeting and news conference, ALPA and a broad range of Norwegian, European, and U.S. airline employee groups reiterated their adamant opposition to the NAI scheme and called for its immediate rejection. Among the groups showing unified support in Oslo were pilots representing the European Cockpit Association, the Norwegian Pilots Union, PARAT, the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations, the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association, the Allied Pilots Association, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO.

Although it is based in Norway and its parent company is Norwegian Air Shuttle, NAI is seeking to operate its long-haul flights as an Irish airline expressly to avoid Norway’s employment laws, which runs contrary to the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement (Article 17 bis). NAI’s plan is to “rent” its pilots through a Singapore employment company and to base them in Thailand. The employment company will require that the pilots work under individual employment contracts that do not allow collective bargaining and contain wages and working conditions far below those of the Norway-based pilots who fly for NAI’s parent company.

To get around Norway’s labor laws, NAI has applied for an air operator’s certificate (AOC) from Ireland, even though it will not operate flights to or from the country. In addition, NAI has applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for a foreign air carrier permit so that it can fly to the United States and compete with U.S. airlines for international passengers’ business. The airline workers gathered in Oslo today uniformly called on the Irish government to reject the AOC and the U.S. government to reject the foreign air carrier permit application.

“As airline pilots, we invest our entire careers in our airlines. We enthusiastically seek opportunities for our companies to compete on a level playing field and prevail in the international marketplace,” said Capt. Moak. “However, leveraging loopholes to get around the law, shopping for the lowest labor standards, and contradicting respected air services agreements do not constitute fair competition.”

Joining airline industry workers from across the globe at the Oslo events today are only the latest elements in ALPA’s comprehensive action plan to bring attention to the dangerous NAI scheme and to urge in the strongest possible terms that the Norwegian, Irish, and U.S. governments immediately reject it. Today, ALPA also launched a new website, an online petition providing airline pilots and all airline employees, as well as all others interested, with an opportunity to make their voices heard in opposing NAI’s plan.

“North American and European airline employees are ready, willing, and able to compete in the global marketplace, but the fight must be fair,” concluded Moak. “The Norwegian, Irish, and U.S. governments must act immediately to ensure that the scheme NAI has concocted to avoid its country’s laws and skirt an international air services agreement is stopped, and that airline workers have a fair opportunity to compete in the global marketplace.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing nearly 50,000 pilots at 31 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on twitter @WeAreALPA.


CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703/481-4440 or

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