The Department of Transportation (DOT) has tentatively approved Norwegian Air Group's application for a U.K.-based foreign air carrier permit.

If finalized, Norwegian UK would be the third Norwegian Air Group subsidiary that is authorized to fly into the United States. Flights can already be operated under the company's Norway-registered Norwegian Air Shuttle and its Ireland-based Norwegian Air International, which received DOT certification in December after three years of review.

In an order Friday, the DOT concluded that Norwegian UK meets the basic requirements of its permit application; namely that it is owned by European Union citizens and that it is financially and operationally viable.

The department dismissed opposition from U.S. aviation industry labor unions, who argued that Norwegian hasn't provided sufficient information for a determination on whether the carrier will meet labor provisions laid out in the open skies agreement between the U.S. and European Union.

The DOT noted that the unions offered essentially the same arguments in opposition to Norwegian Air International.

"The department has already thoroughly considered and rejected these arguments," the order says.

In an email, Norwegian spokeswoman Real Hamilton-Romeo said the U.K. certificate would ease operations for the carrier out of London Gatwick, where it has a substantial presence.

Generally speaking, she said, the certificate would allow Norwegian to more easily utilize aircraft on long-haul routes.

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