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