WASHINGTON ( TheStreet) -- The U.S. Transportation Department has rejected Norwegian Air International's request for an exemption that would permit it to serve the U.S. while its request for a permit to operate as an Ireland-carrier is reviewed.
The rejection, which has no immediate impact because Norwegian can continue to serve the U.S. under its current framework, was sought by a variety of airline labor unions as well as by American (AAL) Delta (DAL) and United (UAL) . Norwegian's application for a permit is still pending and the carrier continues to fly to the U.S.
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"The U.S. Department of Transportation took an important stand for fair competition today by denying Norwegian Air International's request for temporary authorization to fly to and from the United States," Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, said Tuesday in a prepared statement.
"While today's decision is extremely significant, the DOT's work is not yet complete in making certain that NAI is not permitted to exploit international aviation policy and law to gain an unfair economic advantage over U.S. airlines," Moak continued. "The DOT must take the next step and deny NAI's application for a foreign air carrier permit to serve U.S. markets."
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said in a prepared statement: "The DOT's decision upholds decades of work by AFA and our colleagues across the globe to create opportunities for aviation workers while expanding business." Also, 38 senators have signed a letter to the DOT opposing a permit for Norwegian.