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House bill targets ‘flag of convenience’ carriers

By Brooke Payne

As Reported By Ashley Halsey III for The Washington Post

Bipartisan legislation introduced in the House on Wednesday would prevent the United States from issuing permits to foreign airlines that could undermine this country’s safety and labor standards.

The legislation is aimed at a practice known as using a “flag of convenience,” when a carrier shops around the globe for favorable labor laws and aviation standards and bases its operations in a country other than its own.

The controversy stems from Norwegian Air, which won permission to fly to the United States in 2016 and now provides flights to Europe and South America from New York, Los Angeles and three other U.S. cities.

Despite its Norwegian homeland, the airline chose to operate under Irish law. In addition to labor and safety concerns, lawmakers and U.S. carriers contend the practice gives foreign airlines an unfair competitive advantage.

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