Norwegian Air to Hire US Pilots for Fort Lauderdale Crew Base
PHOTO: A Norwegian Air Shuttle flight at London's Gatwick Airport. (Photo via Flickr/Andrew Thomas)
Despite facing criticism from U.S. airlines and unions over controversial business practices, Norwegian Air Shuttle aims to be the only European airline to hire U.S.-based pilots, according to Norwegian Group's chief operating officer Asgeir Nyseth.
The Norway-based low-cost carrier announced Monday that it's in the process of recruiting and hiring American pilots for its crew base at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
A spokesman for the airline said it hopes to hire a minimum of 24 crew members, which is enough to support the operation of at least one of the carrier's incoming Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
"We will start with a pilot's base in Fort Lauderdale, but the ambition, of course, is to grow and also have more pilot bases in the U.S.," spokesman Anders Lindstrom told the Sun Sentinel. "Recruitment is already in place, with job ads just out, and we aim to have them working during the first six months of 2017."
In a recent interview, Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said the airline may hire as many as 100 pilots in the U.S. to start and is open to adding more depending on whether it's able to add flights.
According to Bloomberg, Norwegian currently operates 44 flights from the U.S. — a majority of which fly to Europe — and plans to add more routes in the coming years.
"Hiring American pilots for our long-haul operation has been one of Norwegian's goals since launching our transatlantic service three years ago, and we are thrilled that we are finally able to do so," said Nyseth in a statement.
"With the delivery of 31 additional Boeing Dreamliners over the next few years, Norwegian is excited to be adding American pilots to our ever-growing workforce."
Norwegian's pursuit of American pilots comes just three years after it began recruiting American flight attendants for its bases at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and John F. Kennedy International Airport. According to the Sentinel, the carrier expects to have more than 500 American cabin crew members at the two bases by the end of 2016.
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