Larsen To Push Back On DOT’s Norwegian Air Decision Because Of Labor Concerns

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, strongly opposed the U.S. Department of Transportation’s decision to tentatively grant a foreign air carrier permit through a show cause order to Norwegian Air International (NAI). Larsen raised concerns that the carrier will be able to avoid certain protections for workers.

In Article 17 bis of the U.S.-E.U. Bilateral Agreement, air carriers are prohibited from undermining labor protections and tax laws. While NAI will maintain a presence in Norway, the company has received an air carrier certificate from Ireland and is hiring crews through a Singapore company, which allows NAI to avoid Norwegian labor and social laws.

Larsen urged DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx to give serious considerations to NAI’s potential labor violations in a letter in January 2014.

“I am deeply troubled by DOT’s recent decision to tentatively grant a foreign carrier permit for NAI. In my view, approving this permit would violate our agreement with the EU to ensure that airlines doing business in the U.S. have strong labor standards.

“As the U.S. considers other international agreements, I want to be clear that our commitments with other countries are only as strong as our ability and willingness to enforce them. Without enforcement, our agreements are only pieces of paper. I will formally contact DOT about this issue and will work closely with labor groups, industry and my colleagues who are just as perplexed and disappointed by this decision,” Larsen said.