DUBLIN Feb 12 Norwegian Air Shuttle has been awarded an operating licence for its new long haul subsidiary by the Irish authorities, part of ambitious expansion plans that have been criticised by rivals.
Norwegian this year became the only European budget airline to launch long-haul operations to North America and Asia from the Nordics with new Boeing BA.N 787 Dreamliners registered in Ireland using Thai crew and some American staff.
Labour groups including the Air Line Pilots Association International have criticised the plan, saying Norwegian is trying to take advantage of regulatory loopholes to give it an unfair cost advantage over rivals, a charge Norwegian denies.
Norwegian on Wednesday secured an Irish operator's certificate for the new subsidiary, Norwegian Air International, a spokesman for the Irish Aviation Authority told Reuters. This gives the new low-cost subsidiary European authorisation to operate long-haul flights from Europe.
Norwegian has also applied for a U.S. foreign-carrier permit from the U.S. Transportation Department