Clarity needed on US flights - Norwegian Air controversy

THE prospect of Cork having a direct air link to the United States seems to be diminishing by the day. 

The latest spanner in the works has come from a US congressman who has written to the European Commission outlining his objections to the operation of proposed new transatlantic flights from Cork and Shannon to Boston, operated by Irish-based airline Norwegian Air.

Congressman Peter DeFazio, an Oregon-based Democrat, has raised concerns that Ireland is being used as a flag of convenience to allow the airline to sidestep labour laws and hire low-paid crew and pilots under Asian contracts.

Norwegian Air International had originally planned to launch cheap flights from Cork and Shannon to Boston in April but US authorities have held off on granting the airline a foreign carrier’s permit so that it can land there.

The European Commission argues that a permit should be granted but congressman DeFazio has written to the commission saying that this should not happen until the company discloses the terms and conditions of employment for pilots and crew.

The airline says the claims are without foundation and its pilots and crew will be employed under the labour laws of the country in which they are based, which means Irish law.

If that is the case, why can they not outline publicly the contracts that crews will have and put the matter to rest?

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