On April 15, 2016 the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) tentatively approved Norwegian Air International’s (NAI) application for a foreign air carrier permit under the U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement. Much is at stake for individual consumers and large buyers of commercial air services, and your support – in the DOT docket and elsewhere – is critical at this juncture to bring competition to the transatlantic market. A final decision is expected after DOT evaluates additional industry and public comments. The DOT docket will remain open for submissions until May 23, 2016.
A favorable, final NAI decision is exceedingly important as the U.S. airline industry has radically consolidated in recent years – especially in the transatlantic market where three antitrust-immunized alliances control 80 percent of the seats. Conversely, failing to approve NAI means higher fares and less consumer choice. NAI would inject new competition driving fares lower and increasing service to underserved communities. More strategically, as consumers embrace and NAI proves out its long-haul, low-cost business model, other low-cost carriers in the U.S. and abroad will no doubt seek to emulate NAI’s long-haul success further increasing competition and fostering innovative service levels.
Opponents to NAI are already actively filing comments in the DOT docket. Your interests need to be represented in the docket as well. What’s more, the opposition seeks to block NAI through Congressional intervention. On April 28, 2016, H.R. 5090 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives as a bill to undermine the DOT and override the legal determinations of the Departments of Justice and State in supporting DOT’s decision to tentatively approve NAI’s application (see BTC press release at http://btcnews.co/23iTIt6). Proponents are aggressively seeking co-sponsors to this bill, which is intended to kill NAI’s application.
PLAN OF ACTION
I urge you to weigh in with DOT and the U.S. House and safeguard the strategic interests of your organization. Appended below for your perusal are the key points that you may want to consider in acting to make your voice heard to DOT and your Representative in Congress. This is a very time-sensitive matter.
1) A simple letter can be filed in the DOT docket at Regulations.gov
, or you can send your letter to me and I will be happy to file it for you. If filing in the docket, click on any of the boxes that say, “comment now.”
2) Your letter to DOT can be shared with Congress with the additional alert (near the beginning) to your Representative NOT to co-sponsor H.R. 5090. Contact information for your Representative in Congress can be found at House.gov
. An email is most effective, followed by a fax or phone call.
3) Please consider forwarding this communication to your clients, members, subscribers, travelers and colleagues in other companies/organizations.
Thank you for your continuing support. We will prevail!
Business Travel Coalition
Phone: (610) 999-9247