REUTERS: The U.S. Transportation Department said on Friday it granted flying rights to Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA’s Irish unit, setting the stage for a new battle among airlines for leisure travelers across the Atlantic. Norwegian Air has been granted a permit for US-Ireland flights, paving the way for the first low-cost transatlantic flights from Ireland. Originally Norwegian Air International, an Irish-registered company owned by the Norwegian Air Group, had planned a service from Cork to Boston which it had hoped to start in May of this year, with a service from the city to New York scheduled for 2017.
U.S. airlines and unions have said the subsidiary, Norwegian Air International, would undermine U.S. wages and working standards, claims Norwegian has dismissed.
The accusations have come as a fare war has escalated over the Atlantic, forcing large and established airlines to consider selling cheaper fares with more restrictions and redesigning cabins to win budget-conscious travelers back from Norwegian.
Responding to news that the US Department of Transportation has approved Norwegian Air International’s (NAI) application for a foreign carrier permit, a Norwegian spokesperson said:
“We welcome the long overdue news that Norwegian Air International (NAI) has been awarded a foreign carrier permit by the US Department of Transportation. Above all, it is a victory for millions of passengers who will benefit from more choice and lower fares. „