Transatlantic startup carrier Norse Atlantic Airways and the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO (AFA) have agreed to a pre-hire agreement for US-based flight attendants. The move, which is certain to help alleviate some concerns the US government has over the airline, puts the startup on track to hire at least 700 flight attendants based in the United States.
Norse Atlantic and CWA announce crew agreement
The two parties have been negotiating a pre-hire agreement for flight attendants. The agreement is set up to create a minimum of 700 flight attendant jobs in the US. The agreement also sets the groundwork for flight attendants to be represented under the AFA.
Norse Atlantic CEO Bjørn Tore Larsen stated the following on the agreement:
“We are thrilled to reach this agreement with AFA and proud to make clear from the start that our airline puts people first. Travelers will gain a low-cost, long-haul option, but tickets will never be subsidized by our employees. We strongly believe building an airline with respect for the people who work for Norse is the best way to ensure success. AFA has been an outspoken advocate for Flight Attendants and our airline will also benefit from working with this great union. This agreement for Flight Attendant jobs gives us even more urgency to lock in all of the regulatory approvals to start operations as soon as possible.”
The agreement will need ratification and certification of the union after the positions have been filled. According to the AFA, the contract includes “industry-leading starting pay and job protections, healthcare, and a 401k among other key benefits.”
Norse Atlantic Airways has run into issues over labor
Around two months ago, the Chair of the US House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Peter DeFazio, called for the US government to deny Norse Atlantic Airways permission to fly to the United States. Rep. DeFazio’s concerns were over labor, arguing that the airline was seeking to flout labor protections.
Those concerns were similar to what Norwegian was accused of doing. Norwegian and Norse Atlantic share some similarities. Norse Atlantic wants to run long-haul low-cost flights between the US and Europe. This is similar to what Norwegian did, though Norwegian decided to cut its long-haul operations.
Norse Atlantic will now have a great comeback to those allegations. While details on pilots have yet to come out, Norse Atlantic previously has stated it expects to recruit some flight crew in the Americas. It has also shown it is not trying to limit its employees from joining a union.
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What comes next?
With this agreement in hand, it makes it more likely that the airline could get approval from the US government. However, US airlines will certainly keep a watch over this airline. With the demise of Norwegian’s long-haul operations, US airlines have sensed an opportunity. Many airlines on both sides of the Atlantic, especially United, are bullish on their ability to return long-haul international routes to Europe.
Norse Atlantic signed a deal with AerCap for leases on nine Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The deal covers three Boeing 787-8s and six Boeing 787-9s. The airline has not revealed its routes and schedule yet, though it is continuing to move forward with a launch.
For now, Norse Atlantic will still need to seek final regulatory approvals and hire to get up and running. A launch in time for summer is certainly out the window. However, if things do go well for the airline, it could get up and running just in time for a sustained international recovery at the end of 2021 and into 2022.
Are you excited about Norse Atlantic Airways? What do you make of this announcement? Let us know in the comments!