It is important to note that our union has never before opposed a foreign air carrier permit. We haven't even opposed NAI's parent company, Norwegian Air Shuttle; they play by the rules, so we support their access to our market. And Norwegian Air Shuttle is doing just that — playing by the rules and gaining market share. They don't need to violate our aviation treaty in order to buy new airplanes or to offer services to new cities through their subsidiary.
On the other hand, their sham subsidiary, Norwegian Air International (NAI), is skirting the rules, so we have no choice but to oppose them. NAI has essentially asked our government for permission to violate the terms of our Open Skies Agreement, specifically Article 17 bis of that agreement, which explicitly prevents a company from incorporating into a new country in order to circumvent their host-country's labor laws.
NAI is moving from its home in Norway and incorporating in Ireland for the sole purpose of undermining their labor obligations. However you may feel about their business acumen for seeking the move, the conditions of Article 17 bis strictly prevent it. That, not any fabricated "fear of competition," is what motivates our opposition.
We've never opposed any other E.U. carrier from flying to the U.S. Our opposition to NAI is unprecedented because the NAI scheme and violation of our international aviation treaty is unprecedented. Norwegian Air Shuttle is gaining market share without the need for this scheme. Don't let them fool you into thinking that this is about fear of competition.
If this were about competition, we wouldn't even be wasting the ink to write about the issue. But NAI's foreign air carrier permit isn't about competition; it's about the enforcement of our trade agreements, pure and simple. The pilots of Southwest Airlines welcome competition. We don't welcome crony capitalists who wish to bend the rules and pretend they are fighting a fair fight.
SWAPA is a strong supporter of Open Skies agreements. When a single air carrier can benefit from the failure to enforce a trade agreement, that isn't competition. That's crony capitalism.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/swapa-op-ed-why-nai-isnt-good-for-the-us-aviation-industry-300405720.html
SOURCE Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association