Norwegian gains Irish AOC

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Ireland has granted Norwegian Air International an air operator's certificate and operating licence.

Norwegian's Dublin-based subsidiary will now take over its long-haul operations.

The Oslo-based low-cost carrier cites "access to future traffic rights to and from the EU" as one of its reasons for setting up in Ireland. Another is Ireland's adoption of the Cape Town Convention, which provides the airline with "better financing conditions", says Norwegian.

"NAI’s establishment in Ireland does not affect export guarantees in connection with our financing," it adds. Norwegian also credits Ireland with having "one of the highest-ranked civil aviation authorities in the world", and notes that "major leasing companies that Norwegian co-operates with have offices in Dublin".

Reacting to the strong opposition its plans for NAI have met, the airline is insistent that "Ireland was not chosen because the country has specific rules and regulations that allow the use of American or Asian crew, like some politicians and unions have claimed".

It adds: "Norwegian could have based its long-haul company in any other European country and still used American and Asian crew, the way several other European airlines have been operating for years. The only exception is Norway and partly Denmark, who so far have opted to keep outdated special rules within this area."

Norwegian has already tranferred a Boeing 787 to its new AOC "in conjunction with a scheduled maintenance on the aircraft". Its remaining 787s – it has three in service, and a further seven are scheduled to join the fleet – will be transferred gradually, says the carrier, which is awaiting a decision on its application for a US foreign air carrier permit.