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U.S. Pilots Union Vows to Oppose New Transatlantic Low-Cost Airline

U.S. Pilots Union Vows to Oppose New Transatlantic Low-Cost Airline

The largest airline pilots union in the world has vowed to oppose a new transatlantic low-cost airline if it tries a “bait-and-switch” scheme to bypass American jobs for cheaper labor from other countries. The no holds barred criticism from the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) comes just days after the largest U.S. flight attendants union said it had held positive initial talks with executives from Norse Atlantic Airways.

With plans to start operations by the end of this year, Norse Atlantic will initially connect Miami, Los Angeles and New York City with London, Paris and Oslo. The airline is widely seen as a direct replacement of Norwegian Air’s long-haul business and the executive team is largely made up of Norwegian’s ex-leaders.

Bjørn Tore Larsen – a shipping entrepreneur who also founded a controversial aviation staff outsourcing company that supplied Norwegian with contract staff – is the brains behind Norse Atlantic but he insists the business is an entirely new airline “with no ties to existing or previous airlines”.

Capt. Joe DePete, president of the Air Line Pilots Association remains to be convinced that Norse Atlantic’s business plan will be good for American jobs.

“I am highly sceptical of the latest business venture to be announced by Norse’s executives, who have spent years trying to game the system, skirt rigorous safety rules, and undermine workers’ rights,” Captain DePete said on Tuesday.

“ALPA remains strongly opposed to any efforts that erode fair labor standards and seek to gain a competitive advantage by dodging established international agreements,” DePete continued.

Some lawmakers have already called on the Department of Transport (DOT) to reject Norse Atlantic’s application to fly to and from the United States and ALPA says it will also oppose the airline if they aren’t convinced by Larsen’s promises.

“We will vigorously oppose Norse’s attempt to obtain Department of Transportation approval to operate into the United States if its ‘brand new’ airline is just another bait-and-switch flag-of-convenience scheme,” DePete commented.

Larsen says Norse Atlantic will directly employ workers and “respect the rights of our employees to collectively bargain”. Negotiations with the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) are set to get underway later this month, although Larsen hasn’t said whether his new airline plans to hire U.S.-based pilots as well.

View Comments (4)
    • You should care. ALPA has a long history of safety innovation and implementation, usually over the objections of the airlines. They have made your flights much, much safer, and this objection is them trying to keep doing that

      • Yes the cause of most accidents is pilot error.

        There’s that adage about the best flight deck has a pilot and a dog. The dog bites the pilot when they try to override aircraft safety systems.

        All well and good until the pitot tubes freeze.

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