Release #: 17.49
September 22, 2017

DOT’s Norwegian UK Decision Fails U.S. Aviation Workers

ALPA Vows to Work with Congress to Block Anti-Competitive Foreign Airlines

WASHINGTON—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) is disappointed by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) decision to allow Norwegian Air UK (NAUK) to fly to and from the United States under the U.S.–EU Air Transport Agreement (ATA) without knowing how the airline’s crews will be employed or whether its business model will affect U.S. jobs.

“The Trump Administration’s decision to approve Norwegian Air UK’s application to serve the United States is another blow to U.S. workers and does not deliver on all the talk about defending U.S. jobs against unfair foreign competition,” said Capt. Tim Canoll, ALPA’s president.

While the employment model of NAUK, which is a UK airline, is not clear, related Norwegian Air companies are using pilots and flight attendants who work under Asian employment contracts to lower labor standards. While NAUK will operate under UK labor law, the DOT failed to ask NAUK to disclose the terms of employment that would apply to its flight crew members. Under the ATA, the U.S. DOT must evaluate whether granting the NAUK application would be consistent with the public interest and with Article 17 bis, which states that the opportunities available under the agreement may not undermine labor standards.

“The fact that the Trump Administration is saying one thing but doing another when it comes to defending fair competition drives home the urgent need for Congress to act to defend U.S. trade agreements and airline workers against foreign companies with anti-competitive business models in the future,” said Capt. Canoll.

The U.S. House has introduced the Flags of Convenience Don’t Fly Here Act (H.R. 2150) expressly to direct the DOT to carry out its duty to apply a public interest test, including a flags-of-convenience factor, to all foreign air carrier permit applications.

“By passing the Flags of Convenience Don’t Fly Here Act, lawmakers would make certain that the DOT’s future decisions encourage fair wages and working conditions and prevent foreign airlines’ anticompetitive practices from threatening U.S. jobs,” said Capt. Canoll.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 57,000 pilots at 33 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.


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