Allowing the low-cost carrier to operate flights to destinations across the U.S. would be great news for flyers and our economy.
Flyers in mid-sized markets like Buffalo, NY may soon have something to celebrate—as will their hometown’s workers. Last Friday marked the close of the comment period on the Department of Transportation’s pending foreign carrier permit for Norwegian Air UK. Norwegian UK plans to expand its flight network into cities across the U.S., including several mid-sized markets that have seen a marked decline in connectivity over the past few decades.
The “order to show cause” comment period that ended last Friday was, essentially, a “speak now or forever hold your peace” moment in the nearly two-year long process of approving Norwegian UK for flights to the U.S. U.S. Travel was among many organizations to register their support with DOT for allowing Norwegian UK to operate routes here.
DOT’s “order to show cause” is cause for excitement for consumers, the travel industry and American workers. It’s also cause to celebrate U.S. Open Skies policies and an excellent example of the benefits those agreements can bring.
The addition of Norwegian UK routes to new locations in the U.S. will be a fresh dose of competition that could not come at a more appropriate time. According to an upcoming U.S. Travel Association report on the state of air travel, 82 percent of available trans-Atlantic seat capacity is dominated by major U.S. carriers and their joint ventures. Allowing Norwegian UK to operate new, low-cost flights to the U.S. will be a boon to U.S. consumers—and to our economy, given the incredible value of international travel for American job growth.
The fact that many of Norwegian UK’s proposed flights will be operating to U.S. markets that have seen connectivity decline over the last ten years further sweetens the deal. When a new international route is added to an airport, the surrounding economy benefits greatly, and new jobs are created. And the new routes that will be offered by Norwegian UK are possible because of our country’s Open Skies agreements.
We encourage DOT to swiftly approve Norwegian UK’s foreign carrier permit, and give American flyers much needed choice, connectivity and value.