Four American airlines and the ALPA (Airline Pilot Association) have filed a complaint with the DOT about Norwegian’s use of Asian labor on its flights from Europe to United States.
Norway is not part of the European Union, but currently flies from EU member states to United States using an EEA (European Economic Area) license.
The airline operates its long-haul flights (at least to the US) using a subsidiary in Ireland and staffs the flights using Asian-based cabin crews that Irish legislation allows. You can read more about this on The Foreigner here.
The carrier has now applied for an EU license for its Irish subsidiary and the US airlines are now opposing this.
Norwegian currently flies to New York and Fort Lauderdale, but have plans to fly to Los Angeles, Oakland (San Francisco) and Orlando as well.
This is an interesting issue. How are Irish laws allowing the airline to use cabin crews that are based in Thailand to work on the flights between an EU member state and the US?
Many airlines have foreign based crews that work on the flights from their (crew) base. United used to have crew base in Bangkok that worked on the United flights within Asia (and maybe on some flights to United States as well).
Norwegian certainly could have Thailand based crews working on Norwegian’s flights to/from Thailand, but it is unheard of that you could use them for flights from the European Union member states to a third country (in this instance to United States).
If Norwegian wants to use the Open Skies treaty between the European Union and the United States, maybe they should lobby to get Norway join the EU. Problem solved.