This week, the US Secretary of Transportation rejected a request from Norwegian Air International (NAI) to be granted expedited approval to begin scheduled flights to the United States on an expedited basis. The dismissal order can be seen here. NAI is a subsidiary of Norwegian Air Shuttle, the European discount carrier, which is among the first low cost carriers to undertake transatlantic operations. According to Politico, “several aviation insiders with knowledge of the situation have said that DOT won’t rule on Norwegian’s desired foreign air carrier permit until after the elections.”
This decision is clearly political, with more than 100 members of the House of Representatives and 40 members of the US Senate sending letters against the application to DOT, and the House even passing an amendment to an appropriate bill to block the airline from serving the US. As those of us in the US already know, politicians in Washington, with an approval rating in the teens, appear quite easily bought and sold, especially during an election year.
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