Michael O’Leary backs Norwegian Air’s US bid

High-profile Irish business and political figures including Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary have voiced their support for Norwegian Air International’s efforts to get a permit allowing it to fly to the US.

The US government has “tentatively” granted Irish-registered Norwegian a foreign carrier’s permit but members of Congress are still voicing their opposition to the airline getting final approval.

A group includinding Mr O’Leary, Irish Aviation Authority chief executive,Eamonn Brennan, Fáilte Ireland chairman, Michael Cawley and European Parliament member, Deirdre Clune, have signed a letter in support of Norwegian.

Friends of Ireland

The letter, to member of bipartisan group Friends of Ireland, Peter DeFazio, states that opponents of Norwegian’s efforts have “repeatedly and maliciously impugned Ireland’s aviation safety oversight, regulatory structures and labor protections”.

Aviation unions in the US claim that Norwegian is using its Irish airline licence as a flag of convenience so it can crew its flights with cheap labour, a claim that the airline has repeatedly dismissed.

Norwegian hopes to launch a Cork-Boston service this year as part of an overall plan to offer low cost transatlantic flights.

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