Ahead of the unprecedented "extraordinary" meeting of the EU-US joint committee that oversees the implementation of the EU-US open skies agreement on 25 November, ECA calls on decision makers to promote positive growth in the transatlantic aviation market by rejecting Norwegian Air International’s flag of convenience scheme.
A joint declaration demanding the rejection of NAI’s scheme was signed on Monday 24 Nov by US and EU labour organisations. “We welcome robust competition within the industry, and firmly believe that a level playing field for US and EU airlines should guarantee quality job opportunities for our members. However, unless this competition is based on a foundation of respect for fundamental labour rights and fair business practices the economic gains will be few and short lived, while the long term job losses staggering,” says the declaration.
For months now, stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic have been a vocal opposition to NAI’s operating model. While it is Norwegian in origin and ownership, NAI operates as an Irish air carrier, hires air crews employed on individual employment contracts with a Singaporean temporary agency, many of whom are based in Thailand.
If NAI’s application is approved, the proposed NAI business model would reduce the US – EU Air Transport Agreement – and specifically its “social clause” – to an empty talking point. If allowed to proceed, the model will open the door to airlines the door to airlines that compete for international routes by shopping the globe for the lowest tax, regulatory and labour standards. NAI’s flag of convenience model would set a dangerous precedent for the transatlantic marketplace.