Mr. Chairman voices expert opinion on request for a “Flag of Convenience” DoT Application

Share this article: FacebooktwitterlinkedinFacebooktwitterlinkedin

ARTICLE: He’s Back – Former Chairman Oberstar Weighs in Against NAI’s “Flag of Convenience” Scheme

This seventeen term Member of the US House of Representatives was known as an, if not “the”, Aviation Oracle of Congress. The elected representative of Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District acquired, partially through education, sophisticated knowledge and strong opinions about aviation, particularly in the international context. The man, who will always be known as Mr. Chairman, led the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee through many instructive hearings as well as authored/managed many significant aviation bills into enactment.

In a major upset in the 2010 election, Mr. Oberstar left the Congress and has led a surprisingly quiet life for someone who appeared to enjoy advocacy. That period of relative silence abruptly stopped.

Mr. Chairman took a strong position on a “Flag of Convenience” request by Norwegian International Airlines’ application for authority to serve the US. In a docketed letter to Secretary Foxx, he urged that the application be denied.

In the course of his exhaustive epistle, the Chairman supported his position with an exhaustive recitation of the Open Skies Agreements which would appear to permit the grant of NAI’s request. He cited specific language of those documents which justify denial of NAI’s application:

“This concern led negotiators to include in the agreement Article 17 bis (“Social Dimension”), which states that ‘the opportunities created by the Agreement are not intended to undermine labour standards or the labour-related rights and principles contained in the Parties’ respective laws.’ It further states that ‘the principles in paragraph 1 shall guide the Parties as they implement the Agreement.’ The fact that there was no equivalent to Article 17 bis in any of the previous Open Skies agreements with EU member states is a direct acknowledgement of the challenges posed by the regulatory and legal arrangement within the EU.”

The Chairman knows about what he writes.

Glad to have his eloquent, expert voice join some others who have expressed the same opposition and have added doubts about the assertion that the Irish Aviation Authority can surveil NAI’s geographically distributed operations.

Hope that the Chairman will share other thoughts with us.

Share this article: FacebooktwitterlinkedinFacebooktwitterlinkedin