FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Captain Dennis Tajer, 847-902-8481; Gregg Overman, 817-302-2250/817-312-3901
ALLIED PILOTS ASSOCIATION: FLAG-OF-CONVENIENCE SCHEME “WOULD DECIMATE THE U.S. AIRLINE INDUSTRY”
FORT WORTH, Texas (Feb. 7, 2017) — The Allied Pilots Association (APA) addressed comments made today by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer regarding Norwegian Air International, warning that the carrier’s flag-of-convenience business model threatens a large number of U.S. jobs.
During today’s White House press briefing, a reporter asked Mr. Spicer whether the Trump administration plans to address the concerns that pilot unions and other interested parties have raised about Norwegian Air International. Although Mr. Spicer qualified his comments by saying that he didn’t want “to get ahead” of President Trump, he appeared to suggest that the Trump administration agrees with the Obama administration’s decision in December 2016 to approval a foreign air carrier permit for Norwegian Air International.
“We sincerely hope that Mr. Spicer did, in fact, speak out of turn,” said APA President Captain Dan Carey. “Permitting Norwegian Air International to go forward in the United States runs completely counter to President Trump’s pledge to put U.S. workers’ interests first. Just like what happened to U.S. maritime shipping, Norwegian Air International’s flag-of-convenience business model, left unchecked, would destroy a great many U.S. jobs.”
Captain Carey noted that Mr. Spicer also referenced “a huge economic investment that America has in that deal right now,” and that “50 percent” of Norwegian Air International’s crews would be based in the United States.
“Mr. Spicer is correct in stating that there is a great deal at stake here: Norwegian Air International’s flag-of-convenience scheme would decimate the U.S. airline industry. Notwithstanding any supposed pledge to base a portion of its workforce in the United States, Norwegian Air International’s convoluted corporate structure is designed to accomplish one thing only — undercut the competition through lower costs. The result will be a global race to the bottom, to the detriment of the hundreds of thousands of hard-working men and women who keep our nation’s airlines flying.
“One final point: Norwegian Air International does not directly employ crews. Instead, they’re basically rented to the airline by a third-party vendor. As a result, these crews enjoy few protections, creating a culture of fear among workers who feel intimidated to do anything that might put them in disfavor such as bringing to light a safety issue or calling in sick.
“With U.S. airline executives planning to address various issues during their White House visit later this week, we are hopeful that President Trump remains committed to putting American jobs first.”
Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association — the largest independent pilots union in the United States — is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, including several hundred pilots on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union’s website is www.AlliedPilots.org. American Airlines is the world’s largest passenger airline.