Europe has formally pushed to arbitration its concerns over the US failure to approve Norwegian Air International’s (NAI) application for a foreign air carrier permit.

Norwegian filed its application for route authority to the US Department of Transportation in 2013. But the it proved contentious, prompted opposition from labour groups and airlines in North America over their concerns around its labour arrangements.

While the DOT eventually gave the application a tentative nod in April of this year, it is yet to issue a final ruling. The situation is further complicated by the change in US government, with the Trump administration taking office in January.

The European Commission argues the failure to approve the application is not in line with EU-US open skies, and after consultation with EU member states, has formally notified the US authorities of its request for arbitration on the matter.

"The Commission and the EU member states share the view that the failure of the US authorities to act on this request made in 2013 constitutes a breach of the EU-US Air Transport Agreement," says an EC transport spokesperson.

"The Commission informed the US authorities of this position already in November 2014 and regrets that no suitable solution could be found despite intensive discussions at all levels. The Commission acted in good faith during this process and still invites the US authorities to comply with the EU-US Air Transport Agreement in order to reach an amicable solution."

US authorities now have 20 days to designate their arbiter, while the two sides then have 45 days to agree on a third arbiter to act as president of the tribunal.

Source: Cirium Dashboard