The labor union representing the professional pilots who fly for Columbus-based NetJets Aviation has joined the call for President-elect Donald Trump to act within days of the 46th president’s inauguration to revoke a Norwegian airline’s foreign air carrier permit.
The action by the professional association which represents the more than 3,000 NetJets pilots is in conjunction with the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association call for action against the current administration’s decision to grant a foreign air carrier permit to Norwegian Air International, according to the local organization’s press release.
“The current administration’s contemptible move to undermine the U.S. aviation industry and the hundreds of thousands of men and women in its employ is one only President-elect Trump can reverse,” union President Pedro Leroux said. “The incoming president understands the extraordinary damage inflicted upon middle-class America by bad trade policy — of which this decision is a striking example — and we are urging him to take immediate steps to reverse this measure.”
The local organization is expected to join the nearly 8,000-member represented Southwest pilots group in a rally Jan. 24 outside the White House in Washington, D.C.
Rally hashtags include: #DenyNAI, #MakeItRight and #ReverseObama, according to the press statement.
The federal transportation department last month gifted Norwegian Air International a foothold in the domestic aviation system, association representatives said.
The move granted the foreign airline “carte blanche to set into motion a flags of convenience scheme.”
The idiom — flag of convenience — refers to the maritime practice of flying the flag of the country of the ship’s origin or that of its owner.
A flag of convenience is the modern-day practice of businesses registering ships, or in the case of Norwegian Airlines International — aircraft, in a country other than that of its owners.
Critics argue such a scheme allows corporations to circumvent home country’s regulatory, labor and tax laws and they credit the practice with the destruction of the U.S. maritime industry and the good jobs it once supported.
The approval Norwegian airlines decision is set to go into effect Jan. 29, the press release detailed. Industry affairs representatives from both unions are pursuing every possible avenue to draw the incoming administration’s attention to this issue.
“The Obama administration has put aviation jobs at risk, and it is up to the incoming Trump administration to save them,” the local union’s Industry Affairs Committee Chair Capt. Coley George said. “Simply stated, the Department of Transportation’s decision is an anti-worker move that poses a direct threat to the viability, integrity and safety of the U.S. aviation industry.
“We are imploring President-elect Trump to make it right by repealing an egregious ruling that is truly unprecedented in modern aviation policy making.”
George criticized President Barack Obama’s administration for grossly skewing the playing field in favor of foreign competition.
“If this stands, we can expect additional international carriers to follow suit, giving foreign interests an even greater stake in the domestic marketplace,” he said. “When you combine this with U.S. carriers’ diminished ability to compete in the global aviation market, the stage has been perfectly set for the decimation of U.S. aviation interests.”
A message left for the local organization’s communications director for further was not returned by press deadline.