US regulators have said they want more time to look at budget carrier Norwegian Air’s attempt to fly into the United States.
The company already does run services across the Atlantic from Europe, but wants to use an Irish-registered subsidiary with crews based in Thailand to cut costs.
The Department of Transportation said it will review the application because of “the novel and complex nature of this case”.
Rival US airlines and unions have objected. They complained the airline would pay low wages and not meet US employment standards.
Opponents include Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Continenta as well as the Association of Flight Attendants, the Transportation Trades Department AFL-CIO and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
“The US Department of Transportation took an important stand for fair competition today,” Lee Moak of the Air Line Pilots Association said in a statement.
He added: “The DOT’s work is not yet complete in making certain that (the airline) is not permitted to exploit international aviation policy and law to gain an unfair economic advantage over US airlines.”
Norwegian Air International Chief Executive Asgeir Nyseth said in a statement that the airline “stands behind its business” and “looks forward to receiving approval to operate without further delay”.