New Cork-US flights under threat

An American pilots union is calling on Donald Trump to ban the route...

New Cork-US flights under threat

Picture by Ringo H.W. Chiu AP/Press Association Images

The dispute between Norwegian Air International (NAI) and US pilots over a new transatlantic route set to launch in Cork this summer has not gone away, with fresh calls for US President Donald Trump to get involved and revoke the permit for flights to Boston.

The Irish Independent reports that Captain Greg Everhard, a spokesman for the US Airline Pilots' Association (ALPA), spoke to Fox News last week and expressed his hope that Trump "steps up" to cancel the permit granted to NAI in December.

The United Airlines captain said:

"This is a simple decision to enforce our trade agreements. By revoking the permit that allows NAI to operate, we think President Trump can make a very strong statement that he's going to put American jobs first and help save aviation workers."

He also argued that the EU was "violating" the Open Skies agreement and repeated claims that the Dublin-based subsidiary of Norwegian Air Shuttle was established to circumvent tough labour laws in Norway and that it could threaten jobs in the US, which Norwegian has emphatically rejected.

Everhard told Fox anchor Greg Jarrett:

"They're based in Norway, but they've started a company in Ireland and they're hiring crews using Asian employment contracts. This gives them an unfair advantage over US companies."

Contrary to these remarks, NAI has pledged to use only US and EU-based crews.

Over 100 US congressmen and women urged Trump to revoke the permit last month.

NAI begins selling tickets for its new US service this month, with one-way tickets to Boston starting at €65. A route to New York is also planned. Iceland's Wow Air will also be offering US flights in Cork from May, beginning at €149.99 one-way to Boston, New York and Washington.

As a barometer of where average prices will land, Norwegian currently offers flights from a number of European locations to Boston for £135 (€160) one way and £250 (€297) return. That is before factoring in baggage and meal costs.

The services, which will also be offered in Shannon Airport, were initially due to launch last year, but the protracted battle to get approval from the US caused delays.