Wednesday, March 18, 2015
The public debate over accusations of subsidies to the so-called "Gulf carriers," Etihad, Emirates, and Qatar has intensified in recent days as calls for action have expanded from rival airlines to include important government officials. Last Friday, transport ministers from France and Germany, with the backing of their counterparts from Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Sweden, publicly expressed their desire for changes to EU law and policy that could restrict Gulf carriers' access to the European market and/or impose conditions on that access such as transparency requirements. Yesterday, William Shuster, Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, endorsed the position of the U.S. carriers. Executives from the U.S. and Gulf carriers debated the issue at a forum organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, at which the Gulf carriers promised a full rebuttal of the recently released white paper in which the U.S. carriers detail their claims.
Monday, March 16, 2015
Ryanair has announced that preliminary plans to begin serving routes between the U.S. and the EU have been approved by the airline's board. It will be four-to-five years before these plans are realized as the Irish low-cost carrier needs to first obtain aircraft suitable for long-haul operations. The prospect of future transatlantic services from Ryanair suggests that the ongoing resistance to Norwegian Air International's application to serve the U.S. may merely be delaying the inevitable.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Norwegian Air Shuttle and striking pilot unions have reportedly reached an agreement to end an 11-day strike. In addition to disrupting the airline's operations, the labor dispute had added international relevance given the centrality of concerns about labor practices to the U.S. government's delay in approving Norwegian's application to operate routes to the U.S. via it's Irish subsidiary, Norwegian Air International. While the strike has no legal bearing on Norwegian's contention that the U.S. is obligated to approve its application under the US-EU Open Skies Agreement, it's probably helpful politically for Norwegian to demonstrate an ability to work amicably with its unions.