A few decades ago, flying domestically in the United State was limited to the wealthy few. The entry of low-cost carriers such as Southwest Airlines and JetBlue made travelling from coast-to-coast easier and more affordable for everyone. In addition, the arrival of the low-cost carriers has created millions of new jobs in the travel and tourism industry.
It is no surprise that ALPA, along with the four major US carriers are opposed to Norwegian Air's long haul future expansion plans. In ALPA's latest public post states, "Norwegian Air International (NAI) will severely undercut our companies, threaten our jobs, and set a harmful precedent that would undermine US labor and safety rules".
Most Americans reading this comment from ALPA would jump on the bandwagon, seeing that 80% of Americans have no knowledge of how the aviation industry works. With this, ALPA has an advantage in persuading people that what they claim is correct. But there are always two sides to a story. It is a good practice for one to do some research into the issue before passing judgement on a situation.
"Norwegian will severely undercut our companies" - The companies ALPA speaks of are the four remaining legacy carriers, American, United, Delta and US Airways. These legacy carriers are not low cost carriers, like Norwegian is. Therefore, it is obvious that Norwegian will undercut them, it's part of the business plan of being a low cost carrier. However, low cost carriers cater to a different type of passenger. With all the traffic between the US and Europe, there is enough room and passengers for the low cost and the not so low cost.
"Norwegian will undermine US labor" - ALPA has stated that Norwegian will "walmart the skies" since it has trained and hired US cabin crew, paying them less than there Norwegian counterparts. After some research, I have found that Norwegian Air's US based cabin crew pay is actually higher then that of a new hire at post bankruptcy American, by almost 30% .
"Norwegian will undermine and threaten US safety rules" - The FAA oversees US safety in aviation. It is my understanding that the only ones who can jeopardize US safety rules are the FAA themselves, and those airlines governed by the FAA. Norwegian Air International is governed by the Irish Aviation Authority, which has one of the best aviation safety records in the world. The chief of Irish Safety and Regulation Kevin Humpreys said, "ALPA doesn't know what there talking about, they don't know what they're fighting for."
Norwegians Communication Manager Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen stated, "Slanderous allegations from competitors and unions is something we've gotten used to, also when it comes to safety. As soon as they run out of arguments they desperately play the "safety card". Norwegian has been running a safe airline operation since 1993 with no registered accidents or incidents, and our main priority has always been and will always be the safety of our passengers and crew. To claim otherwise is false and misleading. ALPA has actually said on record that Norwegian's hiring of U.S. crew is a PR stunt. That's a great example of how far out their rhetoric is, something we trust the general public understands that doesn't represent reality."
Press release: Norwegian Hires US Cabin Crews