Real Answers from Real Pilots

Flags of Convenience

Hey guys, I’ve seen a couple articles recently talking about carriers like Norwegian Air Shuttle who domicile crews/planes in countries with lesser taxes and labor regulations becoming an issue for American carriers. The concern being Delta, AA, UA are going to start flagging their planes in other countries to lessen regulation and labor costs. Do you think the US airline industry could actually shift like this? I don’t see the American flying public being on board with domestic routes flown with a plane flagged elsewhere and a crew that isn’t subject to current US crew standards.

Andrew,

The whole Norwegian situation is very disturbing to all US pilots and we were hoping that the gov’t would block it. I don’t want to get into politics here but the hope is the new administration will revisit the conversation and make some changes. On a positive note I can assure you that is not going to happen here. While I don’t always agree with the union, this is one area where they’ve ensured there’s some VERY strong language in our contracts preventing this. While it might be attractive on some level financially, there’s already a pilot shortage and if there were a breach we would shut the whole system down (just watch today’s news and see what happened when a just a few Spirit pilots were “under the weather”). I’m not an expert but I think we’re good.

Adam