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Answer of Labor Parties to Norwegian Air UK Limited’s Application for an Exemption

BEFORE THE
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
WASHINGTON, DC

Application of
NORWEGIAN AIR UK LIMITED
for an exemption under 49 U.S.C. § 40109 and a foreign air carrier permit pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 41301
Docket No. OST-2015-0261

ANSWER OF LABOR PARTIES TO
NORWEGIAN AIR UK LIMITED’S APPLICATION FOR AN EXEMPTION

Edward Wytkind, President
Transportation Trades Department,
AFL-CIO
815 -16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202-628-9262
Email: edw@ttd.org

Alex Garcia, Secretary-Treasurer and
Air Transport Division Director
Transport Workers Union of America
AFL-CIO
501 3rd St. NW -9th Floor
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202.719.3870
Email: agarcia@twu.org

Russell Bailey
David Semanchik
Air Line Pilots Association
1625 Massachusetts A venue NW Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-797-4086
Email: Russell.Bailey@alpa.org
David.Semanchik@alpa.org

Sara Nelson, President
Association of Flight Attendants-CW A 501 3rd Street NW, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-434-0574
Email: snelson@afacwa.org

Sito Pantoja, General Vice President
International Association of Machinists
and Aerospace Workers
9000 Machinists Place
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Phone: 301-967-4596
spantoja@iamaw.org

Philip Von Schoppenthau
Secretary General
European Cockpit Association
Rue du Commerce 20-22
B-1000 Brussels
Belgium
Phone: 32-2-705-3293
Email: pvs@eurocockpit.be

BEFORE THE
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
WASHINGTON, DC

Application of
NORWEGIAN AIR UK LIMITED
for an exemption under 49 U.S.C. § 40109 and a foreign air carrier permit pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 41301.
Docket No. OST-2015-0261

ANSWER OF LABOR PARTIES TO
NORWEGIAN AIR UK LIMITED’S APPLICATION FOR AN EXEMPTION

The undersigned labor organizations (“the Labor Parties”) oppose the contingent application of Norwegian Air UK Limited (“NAUK”) for exemption authority. Any exemption from the requirement that a foreign air carrier hold a foreign air carrier permit must be consistent with the public interest. Six months ago, DOT denied a previous request for an exemption by NAUK, finding that a grant of the carrier’s application would not be consistent with the public interest. Order 2016-6-22 at 2. For the reasons set out below, the Department should deny NAUK’s current request as well.

DISCUSSION 

NAUK’s contingent application is premised on the notion that the Department’s final order granting a foreign air carrier permit to NAUK’s sister carrier Norwegian Air International (“NAI”) “fully and finally resolved” the issues posed by NAUK’s application. NAUK Motion at 5. That is not the case.

In the NAI case, DOT found that it did not have to undertake an assessment of whether grant of NAI’s application was consistent with the public interest factors set forth in 49 U.S.C. § 40101. The criterion to be met for an exemption, however, is “that the exemption is consistent with the public interest.” 49 U.S.C. § 40109(c). Among the factors that Congress has directed the Department to apply in assessing the public interest are the encouragement of “fair wages and working conditions” and “strengthening the competitive position of air carriers to at least ensure equality with foreign air carriers.” 49 U.S.C. §§ 40101(a)(5) and (15).

DOT must review NAUK’s exemption application for consistency with these public interest factors. In addition, the Department should assess whether a grant of an exemption would be consistent with the intent of the parties to the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement, as expressed in the agreement’s preamble and in Article 17 bis. As previous filings by the Labor Parties have pointed out, the application contains no information as to the employment arrangements that will apply to the pilots and flight attendants who will staff the aircraft that NAUK intends to use to serve the U.S. This means that several critical questions remain unanswered: will NAUK employ pilots and flight attendants directly?; will it contract them from a UK hiring agency?; will it contract them from non-EU hiring companies that employ the pilots and flight attendants on extra-European contracts, as it is currently done by NAUK’s parent company, Norwegian Air Shuttle?; what country’s law will apply to the crew contracts? The fact that these questions have not been answered provides a firm basis for the issuance of the information and document requests we have asked the Department to direct to NAUK. Docket Nos. OST-2015-0261-0002 and 0008. NAUK should respond to those requests before DOT decides whether to issue the carrier any operating authority.

The Department rejected NAUK’s exemption request once because the public interest did not justify it. Nothing has changed about the particulars of NA UK’s application to justify a change of the Department’s position.

CONCLUSION

NAUK’s application raises serious questions about whether its business plan is consistent with the public interest and the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement. In order to clarify NAUK’s staffing plans for its services to the U.S., DOT should seek the additional information specified in the Labor Parties’ December 2015 and January 2016 filings, and interested persons should be given a reasonable opportunity to respond to that information before the Department acts on NAUK’s application. The Department should not issue the exemption authority NAUK has requested until those steps have been completed.

Respectfully Submitted,

/s/ Edward Wytkind
Edward Wytkind, President
Transportation Trades Department,
AFL-CIO
815 -16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202-628-9262
Email: edw@ttd.org

/s/ Philip Von Schoppenthau
Philip Von Schoppenthau,
Secretary General
European Cockpit Association
Rue du Commerce 20-22
B-1000 Brussels
Belgium
Phone: 32-2-705-3293
Email: pvs@eurocockpit.be

/s/Sito Pantoja
Sito Pantoja, General Vice President
International Association of Machinists
and Aerospace Workers
9000 Machinists Place
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Phone: 301-967-4596
spantoja@iamaw.org

Russell Bailey
David Semanchik
Air Line Pilots Association
1625 Massachusetts A venue NW Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-797-4086
Email: Russell.Bailey@alpa.org
David.Semanchik@alpa.org

/s/Sara Nelson
Sara Nelson, President
Association of Flight Attendants-CW A 501 3rd Street NW, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-434-0574
Email: snelson@afacwa.org

/s/ Alex Garcia
Alex Garcia, Secretary-Treasurer and
Air Transport Division Director
Transport Workers Union of America
AFL-CIO
501 3rd St. NW -9th Floor
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202.719.3870
Email: agarcia@twu.org

Dated: January 5, 2017

 

2017-01-05 LABOR PARTIES ANSWER TO NAUK'S APPLICATION FOR AN EXEMPTION (2mb)

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