Irish Community Urges “The Friends of Ireland Caucus” in the US to Show Support for Norwegian Air International’s Application for Foreign Air Carrier Permit
Cork Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of the Irish Community, has issued a comprehensive and detailed letter to the ‘Friends of Ireland Caucus’ urging them to show support for Norwegian Air International’s (NAI) application for a foreign air carrier permit, which would allow the airline to begin flights connecting the US and Europe. This is in advance of a rally planned in Washington D.C. on Thursday 12th May by opponents of NAI’s application. The letter urges this group of over 50 US political representatives with close relations to the Irish diaspora to support NAI’s application on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of American and Irish consumers and business people who will benefit from new, accessible and affordable flights between our two countries and Europe.
This letter, signed by key representatives both regionally and nationally, aims to collectively voice Ireland’s strong support for the recent decision by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to tentatively grant NAI a foreign air carrier permit and to correct the misleading information that has been distributed by opponents of NAI.
The co-signed letter states that “Opponents of NAI have repeatedly and maliciously impugned Ireland’s aviation safety oversight, regulatory structures and labour protections, and labelled Ireland as a mere “flag of convenience” and the letter clearly corrects this misleading information. This is deeply inaccurate, misleading and simply untrue”.
It also stresses how “The opposition to the NAI permit is based on restricting consumer choice and restricting competition and is not on the grounds of safety or labour. Irish safety standards are amongst the highest in the world and only EU and US crews will be employed who will be subject to EU law.”
“Once approved, NAI is committed to commencing operations on two new routes from Cork to Boston in 2016 and Cork to New York in 2017. The Cork-Boston route was due to commence in May and has had to be postponed. This is a highly unfortunate development for our economies and a missed opportunity for US and Irish consumers to enjoy additional connectivity between our Nations”, the letter continues.
“Ireland, being one of the most open economies in the EU, has strong existing trade links to the United States and this relationship has been mutually beneficial for citizens of both countries, with goods and services flowing in each direction. Irish firms continue to invest heavily in the US, and vice versa. Irish owned businesses employ over 100,000 people in the US; similar in scale to the level of employment provided by US owned firms based in Ireland. The trading and investment relationship between our two countries is therefore extensive and positive for both economies”.
“Air transport connectivity between the United States and Ireland is a key component to vibrant economic and tourism development between our two great nations. In the case of NAI’s brand new Cork-Boston route, the ultimate beneficiaries of this air access will be the Irish and US citizens in those regions, as well as the wider economy”.
“We now look forward to reaching a successful final outcome facilitating the first direct transatlantic flights from Cork to Boston, and subsequently to New York”, Conor Healy, CEO of Cork Chamber, concluded.