Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air has applied for a “foreign carrier permit” in the United States in early 2022. It was initially intended to apply to cargo services, but has opened the door to passenger flights as well. The US Department of Transportation has now rejected this request.
Backlash for Wizz Air: For now, there will be no planned expansion of the low-cost carrier across the pond. In January 2022, Wizz Air applied for authorization in the United States for “Charter Air Transportation Cargo and Mail” between European Union airports and destinations in the United States. Owned by the airline since late 2020 An Airbus A330 cargo planeIt takes over second hand from Qatar Cargo and provides associated charter services.
To operate such services in the US, Wizz Air needs a “foreign carrier permit” from the US government – a mere formality under Open Skies rules. But the Department of Transportation rejected the Hungarian application in writing — and the US aviation authority justified its rejection with safety concerns on the part of the FAA.
Application Rejected – New application is possible
In a letter dated July 20, “the FAA cannot now determine whether Vis Air’s safety oversight is sufficient to grant economic authority to the applicant. In order to get a more complete picture of the low-cost airline’s safety standards,” it requested additional information on the nature of the safety oversight agreement between the European Aviation Safety Agency EASA and the Hungarian Civil Aviation Authority. The FAA would like to receive the information.” Once this information is received, Wizz Air is free to resubmit its application.
A nod from pilot associations
Several pilots and flight attendant unions, including Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), Allied Pilots Association (APA), Independent Pilots Association (IPA) and European Cockpit Association (ECA), opposed the European airline idea. . Opponents of the Wizz Air project pointed out gaps in their application in their comments. For example, the APA noted that “Wizz Air’s app does not contain information about US destinations or scheduled flight frequencies and flight schedules.” It’s also unclear how the airline intends to offer its cargo flights “or eventually passenger flights” competitively, as Wizz Air has yet to receive ETOPS approval.
American pilots also warned of possible competitive conflicts. Wizz Air is regionally owned American investment firm Indigo Partners, which pulls the strings behind the scenes at Frontier Airlines, Volaris and JetSmart. In addition, the APA called on Wizz Air employees to “organize freely in unions” and report any safety issues “including overwork” to the FAA “without fear of adverse consequences in their lives.”
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