[As published by John Mulligan in Independent.ie]
The parent firm of Scandinavian airline Norwegian has pumped another €46.6m into its new Irish subsidiary as it prepares to use Ireland as the base for its long-haul service, Norwegian Air International (NAI).
Last month, Norwegian injected €39m into the Irish arm.
US aviation unions have been campaigning heavily in Ireland, the United States and Norway in an effort to prevent NAI from expanding its services to America and from being granted a licence by authorities here that would enable to base its operations in Dublin.
The long-haul service, with aircraft registered in Ireland, already operates routes from Scandinavia to the US and Thailand. From next summer, it plans to fly from London to the US. It has recently asked US authorities for permission to fly to more cities in the country.
NAI has already rented office space near Dublin Airport and hired staff, but it’s waiting to be awarded an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).
Last weekend, the head of the US-based union umbrella group Transportation Trades Department, Ed Wytkind, wrote to Transport Minister Leo Varadkar urging him to “carefully consider” the implications of awarding NAI an AOC. The Department of Transport has said the matter is being considered and that it would be “inappropriate to comment” at this time. The IAA has declined to comment.