Job Growth And New Consumer Choice On The Immediate Horizon
WASHINGTON, DC – The Business Travel Coalition (BTC) applauds the U.S. Department of Transportation for providing final approval for the Norwegian Air International (NAI) application to serve the U.S. The many stakeholders dependent upon U.S. Open Skies policy – consumers, airports, airlines, cargo carriers, shippers, plane manufacturers and suppliers, travel agencies and travel managers – are deeply grateful to the Administration for strengthening competition in a radically consolidated industry and ensuring consumer choice and strong job creation.
In purchasing U.S. made (Boeing) aircraft to support its growth in the U.S., NAI will now protect and generate thousands of jobs at Boeing and its numerous suppliers across the country. Additionally, by bringing in hundreds of thousands of tourists annually, NAI will support U.S. job growth and stability for the travel and tourism industry among airlines, hotel companies, rental car companies, travel agencies and scores of other industries dependent on tourism.
“The need for independent, innovative airlines such as NAI has never been more compelling, especially in the transatlantic market where the three antitrust-immunized alliances have increased their control of the market from 55% to roughly 80% in the last six years,” stated BTC founder Kevin Mitchell. “NAI will inject competition and lower fares into existing and new markets and drive efficiency, offer consumers a low-fare and high-quality choice and provide new and increased service to underserved communities,” added Mitchell.
Now that DOT’s decision regarding NAI is final, the Norwegian Air UK (NUK) approval should proceed without delay. As DOT stated in the NAI final order, “the law and our bilateral obligations leave us no avenue to reject this application.” The same is true with NUK.
By approving NAI, the U.S. government has taken a firm stand in support of the national interest and rejected commercial protectionism. Avoiding irreparable damage to the reputation of the U.S. as a reliable Open Skies partner, the Administration placed consumers and job growth ahead of special interests. It should now do the same for the NUK application as well.