Irish Authority Rebuffs Attacks on Its Safety Oversight

 - February 17, 2014, 2:10 PM

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has rebuffed attacks on its safety record made in the Scandinavian media in relation to Norwegian Air Shuttle’s controversial plan to operate under an Irish air operator certificate even though none of its services will depart from Ireland. The authority condemned what it said are “misguided” statements.

The new low-cost carrier’s plan to launch transatlantic services under an Irish AOC has provoked considerable criticism from other airlines and labor unions because the airline’s Boeing 787s will also be painted in Norwegian colors but will hire crewmembers from a variety of countries around the world where some traditional labor rules may not apply.

The IAA said it is ranked among the best in the world for civil aviation safety oversight, following an intensive international audit in 2010 by the International Civil Aviation Organization. The 2013 Eurocontrol Performance Review Body also ranked Ireland first among 29 European states for effectiveness of safety management.

The Norwegian move with the IAA is widely regarded as a test of the spirit of the labor agreements in place in both the U.S. and Europe. Delta, United and American Airlines have filed a joint protest with the U.S. Department of Transportation claiming the Irish move would give Norwegian Air Shuttle an unfair competitive advantage.