SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Kevin Benedict, Rich Waidmann, Pat Romanski, Michael Jannery, Javier Paniza

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Southwest Airlines Pilots Against Oakland Support of Norwegian Air "Flag of Convenience" Attempt

DALLAS, Feb. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association (SWAPA) is joining numerous pilot groups across the United States along with Airlines for America to battle against Norwegian Air International's application to the Department of Transportation that would provide them the ability to circumvent labor laws of their home country.

SWAPA's opposition is contradicted by the Port of Oakland who has chosen to support the Norwegian Air International (NAI) application.  SWAPA has written to the Port of Oakland to rethink their position and not oppose the many Northern California-based Southwest Airlines pilots.

NAI is an attempt by a Norwegian-owned entity to capitalize on the EU's loose labor and aviation oversight regulations. They have applied for - and received - an Operating Certificate from Ireland although not one of their aircraft will operate from there.  They have also contracted a Singapore-based company to staff their cockpits with Bangkok-based contract pilots (to evade EU labor and tax provisions).

"This 'Flag of Convenience' strategy is one that has decimated the U.S. Maritime industry," said Captain Paul Jackson, Chair of SWAPA's Governmental Affairs. "That industry was once robust and employed over 200,000 U.S. workers. Today the number of jobs has been reduced to around 2,500 due to the offshoring of work through foreign flag registrations of ships seeking the lax labor laws of those countries. Southwest pilots will not stand by and let this happen to the U.S. airline industry."

"We are not opposing the entrance of an airline that competes fairly and doesn't use the lax EU laws to drive out labor protections, bringing a questionable level of oversight to their operation," continued Jackson. "We strongly believe that our product and the work of our industry can stand up to any competitor if they play by the rules in place and do not seek to lower costs at any price."

Located in Dallas, Texas, the Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association (SWAPA) is a non-profit employee organization representing the more than 6,800 pilots of Southwest Airlines. SWAPA works to provide a secure and rewarding career for Southwest pilots and their families through negotiating contracts, defending contractual rights and actively promoting professionalism and safety. For more information on the Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association, visit www.swapa.org.

SOURCE Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association

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