Norwegian steps closer to opening Argentina flights
Norwegian went another step further in launching its Argentinian operations. On January 26, 2018 the low-fare airline Norwegian Air Argentina (NAA) received the Air Services Operator Certificate (AOC).
The document recognizes the company as a commercial airline, and certifies that it complies with safety and quality standards to carry out aeronautical operations and activities, in accordance with the law of the Argentine Republic, the company proclaims in a statement.
“We are honored to receive the authorization by the Argentine Government and we thank the Minister of Transportation Guillermo Dietrich and his team for the trust in Norwegian,” said Bjørn Kjos, CEO of Norwegian. “This is great news that shows that we are getting closer to the start of our operations in Argentina with our safe, efficient and friendly service”.
Norwegian announced its plans to operate flights in Argentina in December 2016, after extending its discount model from European short-haul flights into North Atlantic operations. In January 2017, the Norwegian Group established an Argentinian subsidiary, as it considered the country to be “an interesting market with great potential that fits Norwegian's global strategy very well, combining affordable domestic and international flights,” CEO of Norwegian Air Argentina said in an official statement.
A low-cost carrier is also considering service the US flights to Dallas, Honolulu, and Johannesburg, Ole Christian Melhus, head of Norwegian's operations in Argentina, told Bloomberg. The US operations are scheduled to start by the end of 2018, after the airline begins serving Argentina's domestic routes and South American destinations, challenging a state-run Aerolineas Argentinas, which currently dominates the country's domestic aviation industry.
Some unions and airlines in the US objected to Norwegian's effort to broaden operations in the country, arguing that the arrangement would give them an unfair competitive advantage by circumventing labor-protection laws. Thus, the Norwegian carrier is in dispute with the Airline Pilots Association, which represents 55,000 pilots at 32 airlines, and the Master Executive Council, which represents 12,000 United Airlines pilots, over the use of its Irish subsidiary, Norwegian Air International Limited.
The airline's expansion into the US market started in December 2016, when American travel authorities granted permission for Norwegian to fly to the US from Cork, through its Irish arm. However, the chairman of the MEC Todd Insler claimed that this permission “will destroy our US airline industry and all of the jobs associated with it,” the Telegraph reported.
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