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Norwegian Air Norway wins US go-ahead

In stark contrast to Norwegian Group’s earlier experiences, another subsidiary gets permission to fly to the US.

The US Department of Transportation has given the Norwegian subsidiary Norwegian Air Norway (NAN) authority to fly to and from the USA, in a much smoother process than the Nordic group has experienced in recent years, ATW reports.

The department says in a notice that it will grant NAN an exemption allowing it to operate in the country, at least until the carrier receives its foreign air carrier permit, which is subject to approval by the US presidential administration.

In operation since December 2014, Norwegian Air Norway is known mostly for its short-haul routes to and from the Nordic region.

But the group is implementing corporate restructuring, it explained in its application, so that Norwegian Air Shuttle will become a holding company with little or no operational activities while NAN will become the main airline operating flights in the US.

ATW cites a source as saying that Norwegian Air UK is expected to continue operating between the US and the UK despite the restructuring.

Single certificate
The new corporate structure would be similar to IAG or Lufthansa Group, the source explains, with a holding company for a number of carriers operating with a single air operator’s certificate.

This would make it easier for the group to negotiate the complicated array of traffic rights and bilateral agreements needed to fly to many countries.

The decision by the Department of Transportation was approved in just 40 days with no discernible domestic opposition – in stark contrast to the difficulties faced by Ireland-based Norwegian Air International and Norwegian Air UK, which won their permits only after longstanding vocal and highly publicised opposition by US pilots’ unions and rival carriers. Litigation over the issue stretched well into 2018.

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