Release #: 16.22
June 28, 2016

Former DOT Official’s Public Statement, Brexit Vote: More Reasons DOT Must Deny NAI and NAUK

WASHINGTON—In two filings with other unions submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) highlighted a public statement by former Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari affirming that the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement (ATA) labor provision applies to both the Norwegian Air International (NAI) and Norwegian Air UK (NAUK) foreign air carrier permit applications and also argued that DOT should suspend processing the NAUK application due to the uncertain rules for UK airlines once the UK leaves the EU.

“Newly available evidence affirms that Norwegian Air International’s and Norwegian Air UK’s foreign air carrier applications to serve the United States are not consistent with the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement and should not be granted by the U.S. Department of Transportation,” said Capt. Tim Canoll, ALPA’s president.

In a recent article titled “Setting the record straight on Norwegian Air and the US-EU Open Skies Agreement,” Mr. Porcari, the senior DOT official who oversaw the U.S.-EU negotiations, states that approval of NAI’s application would not be consistent with the terms of the ATA. “If approved, [NAI’s] highly unusual application guts the core of the ATA’s labor provision. . . ” Porcari states in the article. “[A] decision whether or not to grant operating authority based on compliance with Article 17 is at the heart of implementation of the ATA.”

More than 200 Members of Congress have written to the DOT, calling for a rejection of NAI’s business model. Recently, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) joined Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) in introducing bipartisan legislation (H.R. 5090) in the U.S. House that directs the DOT to require foreign airlines to meet the labor standards agreed to in U.S. air transport agreements before allowing them to fly to the United States. The bill has garnered 132 bipartisan cosponsors.

In its second filing, ALPA stated that while the timing of the exit process is uncertain, once it is completed, the UK will not be a Member State of the EU, and thus, not a party to the ATA. Given that NAUK is wholly owned by Norwegian Air Shuttle, a citizen of Norway, it would not qualify for operating authorization by the United States.

“Significant uncertainty surrounds the timing of the UK’s exit from the EU and its effect on air transportation, including how UK airlines that no longer fall under the U.S.-EU air transport agreement will need to seek approval to serve the United States,” said Capt. Canoll. “With so much in flux following the Brexit vote, the DOT must suspend processing of NAUK’s application until we can determine the rules that would apply to its application.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 53,000 pilots at 31 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.


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