US Federal Aviation Administration, which is negotiating the long-term authorisation bill, stated they need more time to work on outstanding issues following a one-month extension of aviation programs set to move in Congress in the week commencing 28-Jun-2010 (CQ Politics, 28-Jun-2010). The issue that has received the most attention involves a provision in the House-passed bill that would shift FedEx ground operations from being covered by the Railway Labor Act to the National Labor Relations Act.
FAA negotiators request more time over long-term authorisation bill
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Challenges to airline liberalisation. Mindset changes needed: CAPA Americas Summit (VIDEO)
Tentative approval was finally granted by the Us DoT for Norwegian Air International to introduce long haul, low cost service from Europe to the US. Even though the opponents have successfully lobbied legislators to introduce prohibiting legislation, this was a milestone in the contentious debate about open skies agreements, as well as the intricacies of labour law and foreign ownership requirements. There was a lively debate on this topic at CAPA's Americas Aviation Summit, under the guidance of CNN anchor, Richard Quest.
However, in the larger scheme of liberalisation Norwegian’s victory is a small step in what appears to be a long journey for a mindset change: to create new paradigms in the rapidly changing global aviation industry. In the US aviation landscape the easing of foreign ownership restrictions remains a non-starter, which means that joint ventures will continue to serve as stand-ins for cross-border ownership. As the status quo remains, and members of large global alliances holding anti-trust immunity dominate markets such as the trans-Atlantic, Norwegian’s ability to inject low cost competition is welcome, and a logical development.