OSLO, April 28 Low-cost carrier Norwegian Air
has put on hold talks to buy 20 new Dreamliners from
Boeing because of a delay in receiving U.S. Department of
Transportation approval for its long haul plans, Chief Executive
Bjoern Kjos said in a letter.
The airline has launched flights from Europe to Asia and the
U.S. based on a license issued by non-EU Norway, but has applied
to fly to the U.S. on an Irish license, wanting to take
advantage of wider traffic rights offered by the so-called open
skies agreement between the EU and the U.S.
American labour unions and competing airlines have voiced
strong opposition to the plan, which in part cuts costs by using
Asian crews, and the U.S. Department of Transportation has yet
to decide on Norwegian's application.
In an April 23 letter to Irish transport minister Leo
Varadkar and released on Monday, Kjos asked for "assistance and
support in order to find a solution" with the U.S. Department of
"Unfortunately, the delay in the DOT process has given us no
other choice than to put our ongoing negotiations with Boeing to
purchase 20 new 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft - due to be registered
in Ireland - on hold until Norwegian Air International's future
in the U.S. has been decided," Kjos wrote.
Although it was not known the firm was in direct talks to
buy 20 new jets, the airline said its expansion plans were
"It's no secret that Norwegian Air is interested in
additional Dreamliners. We've confirmed that on several
occasions," Norwegian Air spokeswoman Anne Sissel Skaanvik said.
(Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Joachim Dagenborg; Editing by