Flight Attendant Union and Norse Atlantic Airways Schedule Meeting to Negotiate Contract for U.S. Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 3, 2021) – The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO (AFA) and Norse Atlantic Airways (Norse) have agreed to schedule negotiations at the end of May in an effort to reach agreement on a flight attendant contract at the new low-cost, long-haul start up airline.

“We are a brand new airline with no ties to existing or previous airlines,” stated Norse CEO Bjørn Tore Larsen. “While we have an opportunity to offer low-cost, long-haul service for customers with some of the aircraft made available following Norwegian’s exit from the market, Norse will approach labor relations differently from the start. A low-cost operation doesn’t mean workers shouldn’t have good jobs at the company. We will directly employ the staff of Norse and respect the rights of our employees to collectively bargain. Norse respects AFA as an outspoken advocate for the flight attendants’ rights. It’s important for Norse to demonstrate we mean what we say about honoring worker rights and job security for our staff. I am pleased AFA has agreed to meet with us for negotiations.”

“Our union has fought for decades to make our job as Flight Attendants a respected career as aviation’s first responders,” AFA President Sara Nelson said. “We have organized, negotiated contracts, achieved legislation and won legal battles to break through discriminatory barriers, advance aviation safety, and improve wages, benefits and working conditions. But we have also fought to protect fair competition in the rules of international aviation because this is fundamental to our job security and the quality of our careers. My initial discussions with Mr. Larsen are encouraging. We believe Norse can provide good flight attendants jobs that respect labor rights in the U.S. and Europe as intended by the E.U.–U.S. Open Skies Agreement. We look forward to meeting later this month to attempt to codify these discussions with a legally binding contract.”

Norse Atlantic Airways has been reported as a reboot of the controversial Norwegian Air International (NAI), flagged in Ireland, that challenged the validity of a key labor rights provision of the E.U.-U.S. Open Skies Agreement, Article 17 bis. AFA joined together with aviation unions in the U.S. and Europe to fight DOT approval of the permit to operate under an Irish air operator certificate (AOC) in order to avoid the U.S. and E.U. labor laws and labor rights. The NAI operation did not succeed as a business. Separately, Norwegian Air Shuttle employed flight attendants in U.S. bases who flew under a Norwegian AOC that complied with Article 17 bis of the E.U.-U.S. Open Skies Agreement (Norway is also a signatory of the agreement). The U.S. based flight attendants organized in 2016 and with the assistance of AFA successfully fought to gain recognition as employees of the airline. In 2017, the flight attendants officially voted to join AFA. In March of 2020, the flight attendants ratified their first contract but due to COVID-19 the Norwegian long-haul operations were discontinued weeks later. The contract provided severance, continued health insurance, and return to work protections upon restart of operations.

AFA and Norse will meet the week of May 24 for negotiations.


The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, (AFA) AFL-CIO represents nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants at 17 airlines. AFA is the union that has advanced the Flight Attendant profession for 75 years, beating back discrimination and improving wages, benefits, working conditions, and aviation safety, health and security in the aircraft cabin. AFA also partners with the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org.

Norse Atlantic Airways is a new innovative airline serving the low-cost, intercontinental market between popular European and US destinations with a fleet of modern, fuel-efficient and more environmentally friendly Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Established in February 2021 and expected to be listed on the Euronext Growth Exchange in Oslo on 12 April 2021, Norse Atlantic expects to be taking-off with its first flight in December 2021. For more information, visit www.flynorse.com.

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