Budget airline Norwegian Air has suspended talks on buying 20 Dreamliner planes from Boeing because of a delay in receiving U.S. backing for its long-haul plans, Chief Executive Bjoern Kjos said in a letter, according to news reports.
In the letter, Kjos said that the airline may also reconsider plans to locate its long-haul operations in Ireland, giving up the advantage of having a European Union-based carrier.
Its application to the U.S. Department of Transportation for a permanent licence, made via Norwegian’s Irish affiliate, has been fiercely contested by its rivals and by unions, news reports have said.
The argument is that Norwegian Air is simply trying to escape high Nordic labour costs and wants to employ cheap Thai crew, gaining an unfair advantage.
“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 B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft – due to be registered in Ireland – on hold until Norwegian Air International’s future in the U.S. has been decided,” Kjos said in the letter.
“An additional delay – or in the worst case, a negative decision by the U.S. DOT – may regrettably force us to reverse our commitment to build an international long-haul airline in Ireland.”