Last month we looked at Norwegian Air’s continued growth and also their expansion in the US as the low cost-carrier chose the first two U.S bases for the trans-Atlantic flights it will introduce this year. Norwegian Air will begin service to the USA in June with a new service on Boeing 737 aircrafts to Edinburgh from Hartford, Newburgh Stewart and Providence. It plans to add services to Belfast, Cork, Dublin and Shannon from the US cities by July.
The response to the expansion has received mixed feedback across the country and the aviation industry. Whilst some support the low cost airlines venture some were quick to criticize, drawing similarities with Gulf carriers Emirates, Etihad and Qatar who are on the receiving end of complaints from US mainline carriers who claim that they have received more than $40 billion in state subsidies. However both American and United Airlines American Airlines have announced that are happy to compete with Norwegian’s expansion to the USA, which their chief executives say is simply using a "clever" business strategy - and not subsidies - to lower costs.
“There’s nothing about Norwegian that is like the Middle Eastern carriers that suggests they’re subsidized,” says Doug Parker, chairman and chief executive of American, at The US Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit in Washington DC earlier this month. “It’s never been an issue competing with someone who has a different model or lower costs – we do that all the time and we’re good at it.”
United’s Chief Executive, Oscar Munoz went on to say “[Norwegian’s] not being subsidized doing what they do…That’s something we have to accept and work through… I appreciate that – I don’t like it necessarily as a competitor – but that we can compete with.”
The Air Line Pilots Associateion (ALPA) and Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) do not share United and American Airline’s support of Norwegian Air and have vocally opposed the carriers expansion into the U.S.