ETF welcomes US DOT decision on Norwegian Air

3 Sep 2014

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) welcomes the decision of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) to deny Norwegian Air International (NAI) an exemption for a foreign air carrier permit. The ETF now urges the US DOT to permanently refuse NAI access to the US aviation market and close the door to its dubious employment practices.

The decision comes after months of intense pressure exerted by a broad labour coalition from both sides of the Atlantic, including members of the European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee (among others the ETF), as well as the US Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) and the Transportation Trades Department of AFL-CIO. A high number of airlines, engaged in a genuine social dialogue and in line with existing labour standards, have joined the coalition in objecting NAI’s request.

The DOT has yet to decide on the application of NAI for a foreign air carrier permit. Based on the valid EU-US Air Transport Agreement, the ETF strongly believes that this application should be refused as well since the agreement refers to high labour standards that do not match with NAI’s practices in that regard. Further ETF concerns relate to safety and security issues, such as lack of background checks.

Enrique Carmona, the ETF Civil Aviation Section President, commented on the decision: “This success shows the importance of international solidarity and cooperation. In today’s global environment, we have to go beyond national and continental borders in order to counteract multinational companies that are undermining workers’ rights.”

François Ballestero, the ETF Civil Aviation Political Secretary, added: “The DOT decision clearly expresses the will of the United States to protect aircrew jobs and good working conditions on both sides of the Atlantic. It is a victory for the EU civil aviation social dialogue and all other allies. However, we need to remain united because the struggle is not over. We urge the DOT to permanently deny the foreign air carrier permit to NAI.”

For further information, please contact François Ballestero (Tel. +32 474 916 979;