The 38 senators are seeking to ensure "that U.S. airlines have a fair opportunity to compete internationally and continue to fuel the U.S. economy, support the national defense, and provide U.S. jobs," said Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, in a prepared statement.
Moak said that by registering in Ireland instead of its home country, Norwegian is seeking to avoid Norway's labor laws. "The scheme is clearly designed to undermine the labor standards contained in the laws of Norway and the United States, and its operations in the transatlantic market would be inconsistent with the provisions of the U.S.-E.U. Air Transport Agreement," he said.
Kjos said the fleet is registered in Ireland because Norway is not part of the EU, while Ireland is. Many airlines from throughout Europe register planes in Ireland, he said; failure to register in an EU country would prevent much of Norwegian's planned international flying. Additionally, Ireland is the biggest provider of European feed traffic to Norwegian, he said.