Uplink ALPA - The Voice of Aviation

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter. As of April 2020 Uplink ALPA is a 6-monthly publication.

US pilots seek help from President Trump to stop European competition


US airline pilots held a White House rally on 24 January asking President Donald Trump to block the Obama administration’s last-minute approval of a plan that granted Norwegian Air International additional US routes.

Around 130 pilots and airline employees lined up outside the White House on Tuesday to ask for Trump’s help in a long-running dispute with a European rival that they say will cost American jobs.

In December, the Obama administration granted Norwegian Air International (NAI) additional US routes, giving consumers another low-cost option for trans-Atlantic travel. But the Scandinavian airline’s new routes will be licensed through an Irish subsidiary, a move the pilots say will lead to fewer safety regulations and cheap foreign labour.

The airline pilots’ appeal came a day after Trump’s signature on 23 January killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which would have allowed an unlimited number of foreign companies to replace US workers with foreign workers.

“This [Obama pilot] decision is just another failed trade deal by the Obama administration, giving foreign companies an unfair advantage over US companies,” said Captain Jon Weaks, Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association president.

The “Rally for US Aviation Jobs” in front of the White House targeted Obama’s decision to let the Irish subsidiary of a Norwegian airline begin flights in the United States using crews contracted in Asia.
Norwegian Air Shuttle’s Irish subsidiary, NAI, exists because Ireland tries to maximise its growth by minimising trade rules. In late December, the Obama administration granted a flight permit to the Irish subsidiary, which allows NAI to begin its flag of convenience operation on 29 January.

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