Thursday, January 9, 2014

Latest Salvo in Norwegian Battle; Recruiting an Army of Workers

Amelia Colon completes training in New York
Photo courtesy Norwegian
Who says the thrill is gone from the aviation business? Apparently not Amelia Colon, Olga Komissarova or Frank Cedeno. They are three of a number of enthusiastic new hires at Norwegian, the low cost carrier with ambitions to go global that is opening bases in Europe, Asia and yep, right here in the good 'ole U.S.A.

Not so fast, though. The airline's never-say-die boss, Bjorn Kjos first must solve two very big problems. The airline does not have the air operator's certificates it needs to have the right to fly on some of the routes for which it is so busy hiring staff

It's a complicated business plan Mr. Kjos has going, involving international treaties, labor law, flags of convenience and now, I am told, a hot-shot Washington lobbying firm that surely must have orchestrated today's photo rich announcement of all the American jobs Norwegian is creating. 
Norwegian's new cabin crew hires in New York
Photo by Norwegian
The hiring news is not carrying much weight with the Air Line Pilots Association or the airline trade association Airlines for America both of whom have filed papers with the U.S. Department of Transportation urging it not to allow Norwegian to operate under the U.S. - E.U. Air Transport Agreement

To find out why, read my earlier post here.
What's new is Norwegian's campaign to show how even while it tries to evade labor law in its home country, the airline is pro employment elsewhere.  If it is successful in offering point to point, low fare service around the globe, on a no frills airline with below union wage scale workers, the airline promises thousands, nay, millions of jobs will be the result. 

"Norwegian’s entry into the U.S. market will also create millions of jobs in the travel- and tourism industry," reads the press release accompanying the photos of Amelia, Olga and Frank at their training course in New York.

One can't help but wonder how much Norwegian hopes that the promise of jobs for the locals will sway the two governments in whose hands the airline's fate presently rests. 

Norwegian applied to operate in the U.S. as an Irish operator, even though as of this date, that government hasn't given Norwegian the go-ahead. Still, the company is busy telling the Irish about all the jobs that will be created there. 

The most surprising bit of gossip I've heard is that recruiters for Norwegian are hard at work convincing pilots presently working in the Middle East that they can move to Dublin and fly the Dreamliner. Sure they'll take a cut in pay, but they won't have to live in the desert.

Is that working? I can't say. But I wouldn't advise Norwegian's new U.S. or Irish employees to take out any big loans just yet. 

At the same time, Kjos, who resuscitated Norwegian Air Shuttle from near death just a decade ago, makes no small plans. Only a fool would count him out too soon. 


Oussama's Take said...

A tad of hyperbole about job creation. I don't think pilots in the Gulf will be switching jobs very soon, they can still fly the Dreamliner there (QR, EY, RJ). Besides the desert has its attributes now that we have polar vortices to cope with.

Christine Negroni said...

Oussama, the desert is sounding very good to me right now, yes.

Patrick Smith said...

What's this now? Pilots will be leaving their six-figure salary jobs at Emirates to go fly for a low-paying, scandal-plagued upstart?

And as for those "millions of jobs..."

Grumpy said...

How does one say "Bull-Hockey" in Norsk?