Norwegian Air Shuttle gets OK to register as Irish company

The planes may say Norwegian, but this airline will now be based in Ireland. Photo: Norwegian.

The planes may say Norwegian, but this airline will now be based in Ireland. Photo: Norwegian.

You might remember my story on Norwegian Air Shuttle from last month. I reported that this new discount airline planned to offer super cheap fares on nonstop flights from Los Angeles to London, Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm using new Boeing 787s.

There was only one catch. Norway has high costs and a lot of regulation, so Norwegian wanted to register itself in Ireland, where it could operate more freely. As another bonus, Norwegian says being in Ireland will give the carrier more traffic rights to serve more cities. This probably means Norwegian will be able to start up a bunch of new routes without getting special permission each time from regulators.

US airlines and a major U.S. pilots union called ALPA opposed the registration change, saying it was not fair for competition. They said a Norwegian company should be based in Norway — not Ireland. (ALPA is still hoping the U.S. government will ban Norwegian from serving the United States under the Irish scheme, and has set up a website to state its case.)

But according to a release I received today, Norwegian got the OK from the Irish government to set up there.

“With this permit, the administration of Norwegian’s long-haul operation will be relocated to Norwegian Air International Limited (NAI),” company officials wrote. “The company has built its managerial and all mandatory regulatory functions in Dublin. Its aircraft operation will now be governed by the Irish authorities. The Irish regulatory authorities are considered to be among the best in the world.”

Read on for the full release.

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