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Norwegian Air Files Discrimination Complaint, Alleges Authorities Giving Rival Carrier an Unfair Advantage

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Alleging unfair Scandinavian rules benefiting SAS, Norwegian Air has filed a complaint to the European Commission.

Norwegian Air alleges that competitor Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has an unfair advantage due to a joint Air Operator Certificate, forcing Norwegian Air to take its issues to the European Commission. In a press release, the airline announced its filing of a complaint against SAS with the Commission and the EFTA Surveillance Authority.

According to the release, the complaint is focused on the joint Air Operator Certificate which SAS operates under. SAS currently holds a certificate issued jointly by Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Norwegian Air claims that, despite its applications, the carrier have been denied equal access to a joint Air Operator Certificate.

“Norwegian has for the past five years on numerous occasions applied for and requested equal treatment and conditions to no avail,” the carrier wrote in a press release. “Every time, the rejections by the Scandinavian national aviation authorities have been justified by SAS’ historically defined conditions and that its majority owners are the governments of Norway, Sweden and Denmark.”

As a result, Norwegian Air is prevented from operating certain routes over Europe because it does not hold a certificate from an EU country. Norwegian Air currently operates under a certificate issued by Norway, a European Free Trade Area country but not a member of the EU.

In addition, Norwegian Air alleges that because it cannot access a joint Air Operator Certificate, additional fees are unfairly levied against the air carrier. These include applying for a wet-lease when operating aircraft on another certificate, as well as increased crew costs. SAS has yet to provide a comment about the allegations or the complaint.

The situation is the latest in a string of international issues for Norwegian Air. In September, the FAA denied the airline’s initial request to access American airports under an Irish subsidiary using the “Open Skies” agreement.

[Photo: Norwegian Air]

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