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From Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, is anyone up for a trip to London, Paris or Oslo?

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport will be the jumping off point for new transatlantic service to London, Paris and Oslo by the discount startup Norse Atlantic Airways. © Susan Stocker / South Florida/Sun Sentinel Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport will be the jumping off point for new transatlantic service to London, Paris and Oslo by the discount startup Norse Atlantic Airways.

Norse Atlantic Airways, a newly formed discount airline from Norway, says it will take you to any of those three European capitals starting next year.

The airline also announced Thursday at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance’s annual dinner that it will set up its U.S. headquarters at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, in the city’s uptown district. The company currently has offices in Arendal, Norway and London.

The initiative is an economic development coup for Broward County and both airports, which all covet the development of new commercial aviation businesses as generators of jobs, visibility and new services for travelers. It also means more international flight options to Europe for Broward and Palm Beach county air travelers who have seen them diminish in recent years.

Bjørn Tore Larsen, founder, CEO and major shareholder, said that the company’s U.S. focus and footholds in Florida and Fort Lauderdale “will be key to our success.”

“Not only is Fort Lauderdale centrally located but it also has a smart approach to attracting new businesses to the area,” he said.

In a phone interview Thursday, Larsen said the airline chose Fort Lauderdale because the company feels the area is underserved by carriers offering European service.

“We would like to provide the people in Fort Lauderdale the opportunity to travel to Europe,” he told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “At the same time we know Fort Lauderdale and the area is a very popular tourist destination for Europeans.”

Larsen said he expects the airline will be employing “several hundred” people in Fort Lauderdale, including crew members who will be based here.

Mark Gale, chief executive officer/director of aviation at the international airport, called the timing of the airline’s impending arrival “perfect” as “international travel to and from South Florida ramps up to meet market demand.”

“The FLL team is excited that Norse Atlantic Airways has chosen to establish its U.S. headquarters in Fort Lauderdale and will add nonstop service to Scandinavia and Europe from FLL next year,” Gale said.

Norse Atlantic, however, still has work to do before its fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners can enter U.S. skies. Besides South Florida, the airline intends to serve New York Stewart International Airport north of New York City, and Ontario International Airport east of Los Angeles.

Operating certificate pending

Larsen suggested the carrier’s regulatory request to serve the U.S. is on track as no one has opposed the airline’s application with the U.S. Department of Transportation. A public comment period ended earlier this week, according to agency files.

But earlier this year, critics characterized Norse Atlantic as a carbon copy of another discounter called Norwegian Air, which once offered a slew of transatlantic flights aboard Boeing 787s, including service to Florida. The latter airline drew union accusations of circumventing labor laws. In 2019, Norwegian dropped Fort Lauderdale and other U.S. cities, citing insufficient traffic.

Norwegian later descended into bankruptcy, reemerging last spring as a smaller, Eurocentric airline with no flights to the U.S.

Around the same time, Norse publicized its startup plans. Joe DePete, president of the Air Line Pilots Association in Washington, said he was “skeptical.” Aviation Weekly, an industry trade publication, quoted him as calling the company “Frankenstein’s Monster … putting a bunch of dead parts together.”

ALPA did not respond to an emailed request for comment Thursday.

But in the interview Thursday, Larsen said that those comments were “premature — before they knew the airline.”

Pre-flight labor peace

He added that Norse will be employing U.S. and European flight crews who will work directly for the company, not third-party contractors. The latter practice was one of the objections raised by labor unions against Norwegian Air.

“I think for them, they were concerned we would adopt models other airlines were doing,” Larsen said. “We are employing all the crews directly and we are encouraging unions.”

To support the pledge, Norse in September announced a partnership with the British Airline Pilots Association designed to lead to a labor contract.

In May, Norse announced an unusual “pre-hire” agreement with the Washington-based Association of Flight Attendants-CWA to create a minimum of 700 unionized attendant jobs in the U.S.

“This is what respect for workers and our unions looks like,” said Sara Nelson, the union president, in a statement. “Norse management is taking a refreshing approach to labor relations and demonstrating that the success of a business starts with good jobs. We are thrilled to announce this historic agreement and we look forward to getting people to work as soon as possible.”

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/news/new-airline-to-offer-discount-flights-from-fort-lauderdale-to-paris-london-and-oslo/ar-AAPO8gi

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