The Obama administration has rejected a request by a low-cost air carrier to begin flying immediately between the U.S. and Europe in a case that has significant labor and trade policy implications.
The Transportation Department turned down a request by Norwegian Air International for an exemption to allow it to begin service before the government is finished reviewing its application for new flights.
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European carriers are usually granted such exemptions under a U.S.-European Union aviation agreement.
The carrier's origin and ownership are Norwegian, but it plans to register its planes in Ireland and to hire pilots using a Singapore hiring agency and base them in Thailand.
Pilots unions and U.S. airlines opposed the exemption, saying Norwegian is using Ireland as a "flag of convenience."