Norwegian Air to Hire U.S. Pilots and Establish East Coast Base

By Paul Riegler on 8 October 2016
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Norwegian Air, a European low-cost carrier that already has two flight attendant bases in the United States, said Friday it plans to hire American pilots for its high-tech Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The airline’s long-haul hub is at London Gatwick.

The airline will base its U.S. pilots in Fort Lauderdale, which is also one of the airline’s two flight attendant bases in the United States. Norwegian has more U.S. flight attendants based in the country than any other foreign airline.

The carrier plans to staff the base with some 24 crew members, essentially the number required to support operations of one Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. This would include one base captain, nine captains, five relief captains, and nine first officers.

The Bergen-based carrier is currently awaiting approval for final Department of Transportation approval for its Irish-flag subsidiary to operate flights into the United States from Ireland and other parts of the European Union. The agency gave the airline a provisional green light, saying there was no basis to reject the application.

But airline employees, in particular pilots at Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, aren’t convinced. They said that the airline, a subsidiary of Norwegian Air Shuttle, based the company in Ireland in order to evade Norwegian labor laws.

Norwegian, for its part, denies the charges and points out that it has hired over 400 U.S.-based crewmembers over the past two years. In the past, airline executives have said that its entry into more U.S. markets would increase competition over the Atlantic without sacrificing safety. Norwegian only operates new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft on its long-haul flights.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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