Norwegian expands routes

Despite adding destinations, not all is plain sailing for the low-cost carrier

Photo: RHL Images / Wikimedia Commons Troubles continue for Norwegian Air.

Photo: RHL Images / Wikimedia Commons
Troubles continue for Norwegian Air.

Michael Sandelson
The Foreigner

Norwegian has announced that one of its routes will be between Oslo (OSL) and Puerto Rico’s San Juan (SJU) in the Caribbean. This once-a-week service, operated using Norwegian’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, starts on November 1. Flights are on Sundays.

London Gatwick (LGW) passengers will get two flights per week. Services will commence from November 4, with departures being offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Norwegian will also be flying to St. Croix (STX) in the U.S. Virgin Islands, another place popular with cruise tourists. These once-a-week services will be departing from Copenhagen on Mondays, while Gatwick passengers will be able to depart on Fridays. These routes will be commencing on November 9.

The Danish airport will be used for Norwegian’s new flights to Las Vegas (LAS) too. This once-a-week service will be flown on Tuesdays, beginning November 10. Meanwhile, passengers using Stockholm for this U.S. destination will be able to fly there from October 31, every Saturday.

Norwegian also announces that Oslo and London will get services to Los Angeles (LAX) later on this year.

The cruise is proving somewhat bumpy for Norwegian regarding America and the company’s Ireland-registered Dreamliners, however. U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) officials have still not made a decision on granting the carrier rights to fly to and from there through subsidiary Norwegian Air International (NAI).

The Norwegian CAA has given Norwegian temporary permission to hire the 787-8s for long-distance routes, but this permit expires on June 16 this year. The carrier may then have to move six of its 787-8s to Norway, home of parent company Norwegian Air Shuttle (NAS).

Anne-Sissel Skånvik at Norwegian confirmed to business daily Dagens Næringsliv, April 22, that the company is discussing the matter with the CAA “and preparing a transfer of the Dreamliners from the Irish to the Norwegian aircraft register.”

At the same time, the airline wet leases its planes. Personnel aboard are hired via employment bureaus based in other countries, and under local employment conditions. Skånvik added that Norwegian intends to continue using foreign-based crews for their Europe-U.S. and Europe-Asia flights.

But unions are provoked by this. They claim that the carrier would be flouting Norwegian law if they used non-European crew on Norway-registered aircraft.

“The EEA Agreement provides for free flow of labor, allowing European crews to work on planes. However, Norwegian legislation states that you need a Norwegian Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) if the aircraft are registered in Norway,” Jack Netskar of the Norwegian Airline Pilots’ Association tells The Foreigner.

“Another regulation states that crew serving on international flights need a work and residence permit for Norway, which would apply in this case. Norwegian tried to lobby for a change of regulations three years ago, but the then Labor (Ap) coalition government turned it down following massive opposition,” he concludes.

This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit theforeigner.no.

It also appeared in the May 1, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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