Regarding the May 15 guest commentary, “Blocking airline a threat to Boeing workers.”: Rep. Rick Larsen is defending fair competition for Boeing’s and all U.S. aviation workers by championing legislation that directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to require foreign airlines to live up to the U.S. transport agreements they sign before it allows airlines to benefit from them.
Norwegian Air Shuttle already serves the United States and is free to supply consumers with the low-cost service the airline says it will provide with its new subsidiary, Norwegian Air International. The difference is that NAI has devised a business plan to allow it to avoid Norwegian labor, tax, and regulatory laws to gain an unfair economic advantage over other airlines. Approval of this business model by the DOT would be inconsistent with the U.S.–EU Air Transport Agreement, which includes a labor provision that requires the DOT to make certain that air services under the agreement are not used to undermine labor standards.
If one company is allowed to ignore U.S. air transport agreements, others will surely attempt to do so as well. The consequences could be dire for U.S. airlines and their workers. For this reason, more than 18,000 pilots, including many like me who live in Washington state, have declared our opposition to NAI. We commend Rep. Larsen for his tremendous leadership in calling on the Obama administration to ensure fair and free competition for U.S. airlines and their workers.
Capt. Chris Notaro