A union representing over 57,000 pilots in the United States and Canada has ridiculed President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy after the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a permit for Norwegian Air to further expand to the USA.
Norwegian Air Shuttle has opened a United Kingdom division called Norwegian UK, based in London Gatwick. The subsidiary plans to operate to several U.S. cities.
Union pilots argue that Norwegian Air UK pilots are not paid “fair wages”, creating an unfair advantage.
Let me just stop here for a moment. U.S. pilots are paid VERY WELL. A Delta 777 captain makes over $320,000. Kind of makes you think you’re in the wrong business sometimes, no?
How much are Norwegian captains paid? In the $120,000 range.
That is certainly far less than what most legacy U.S. airlines captains are paid, but who could ever call that wage unfair with a straight face? The median income in the U.S. was $59,039 last year.
But that did not stop Captain Tim Canoll (of Delta) and President of Air Line Pilots Association International from remarking–
The Trump Administration’s decision to approve Norwegian Air UK’s application to serve the United States is another blow to U.S. workers and does not deliver on all the talk about defending U.S. jobs against unfair foreign competition.
The DOT’s response was essentially, sorry…just because you say it is unfair doesn’t mean it is. It looks fair to us.
As cute as it is to see an issue in which unions and airlines can agree, the goal is the same: eliminate competition. Competition forces innovation and can bring out the best in airlines. The only reason we’ve seen airfare to Europe drop so precipitously is due to competition. And yet U.S. airlines remain very profitable. In this case they’re just being greedy and it seems to me somewhat silly.