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European Union Requesting Arbitration in Norwegian Air Dispute

Friday, August, 5, 2016

The Transport Minister from the European Union is requesting formal arbitration with the United States in order to ensure Norwegian Air’s United Kingdom-based subsidiary will have the ability to fly to airports in the United States.


Reportedly, the issue is a sensitive one in Washington because the request is opposed by the three largest US international carriers and many of their employee unions because, according to them, it should not have the right to use a United Kingdom operating certificate to fly to the USA because its main office is located in Norway.


Violeta Bulc, the European commissioner for transport and Norwegian Airlines argue that the UK already approved the subsidiary, and once it happens the USA quickly follows. The US Department of Transportation hasn’t acted yet, claiming last month it needed more time to do something. There was no final date given for when a decision will be made.


Norwegian Airlines wants its UK subsidiary to fly US routes to simplify its operation. They are already able to fly anywhere in the EU to any airport in the USA, but they have less liberal air treaties with many other nations. It created the UK-based airline to circumvent those treaties. If the UK-based operation flies to the United States and Asia, it would make the company’s operations more efficient. An Irish subsidiary was created for similar reasons, which is also opposed by some US interests, but has received preliminary approval from the US government.


According to a spokesman for Norwegian Air, the airline is pleased with the request to resolve the matter through arbitration and believes a resolution is well overdue.