NEW YORK (JUNE 30, 2016) – The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has today announced it will continue to review the foreign air carrier permit application for Norwegian Air Shuttle’s British-based subsidiary, Norwegian UK (NUK), to operate flights between the United States and Europe. Norwegian UK’s application thereby remains pending, but Norwegian is confident that it will receive its permanent authority.
Norwegian UK should be entitled to a Foreign Carrier Permit under the terms of the Open Skies Agreement. NUK was granted a UK Operating License by the UK Civil Aviation Authority in November 2015, allowing the airline to be established. Norwegian is now the third-largest airline group operating at London’s Gatwick Airport, operating eight long-haul routes and more than 40 European routes. Norwegian also operates European routes from Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh airports.
Norwegian’s U.S. flights currently operate under the Norwegian Air Shuttle Air Operator Certificate, which allows the airline to operate between the U.S. and Europe. With U.S. approval for Norwegian UK, the airline will be able to more effectively utilize its long-haul fleet and establish a seamless operation, including the use of the same aircraft on both U.S. and other long-haul routes to destinations such as Asia, South Africa and South America, which currently all other European airlines can.
The UK government has expressed strong support for Norwegian UK and has stated that “[NUK]’s application complies with all DOT requirements […] we urge the DOT to fully discharge the U.S.’s international obligations and to grant NUK authorization to operate forthwith”. Additionally, the US State Department has affirmed that that granting Norwegian UK’s application is in the foreign policy interest of the United States.
Norwegian is the world’s sixth largest low-cost airline and carried 26 million passengers in 2015. The airline operates more than 400 routes to over 130 destinations in Europe, North Africa, Middle East, Thailand, Caribbean and the U.S. Norwegian has a fleet of more than 100 aircraft, with an average age of 3.6 years, making it one of the world’s youngest fleets. Norwegian was named the Most Fuel-Efficient Airline on Transatlantic Routes by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). Norwegian was named the World’s Best Low-Cost Long-Haul Airline by the renowned SkyTrax World Airline Awards in 2015, and for the third consecutive year, named Europe’s Best Low-Cost Airline. Norwegian employs 5,500 people. The airline offers 40 nonstop routes from the U.S. to London, Paris, Scandinavia and the Caribbean.
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