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