’The Government will continue its competition-oriented aviation policy and strengthen the country’s aviation community. At the same time, we see that Norway needs to engage in international cooperation to ensure fair competition, orderly working conditions and safe air traffic. Efficient and safe aviation services are essential for business and Norway’s citizens.’
Ketil Solvik-Olsen, Minister of Transport and Communications, made the above statement in connection with the publication of the study of Norwegian aviation undertaken by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The study enhances knowledge on the conditions in the aviation industry and will serve as the basis for a policy position on the future of aviation in Norway. The aviation study will now be sent on a three-month consultation round, accompanied by a specification of the Immigration Regulations.
The aviation study
The study examines the latitude provided by the authorities’ framework conditions, such as passenger rights, simplified transfer routines, pre-clearance for air travel to the USA, use of the EEA designation and mappings of the Norwegian aviation industry and of the wages and labour conditions in national and international aviation.
Recommended measures to safeguard employee rights
In the study, the Government proposes to reinforce the collaboration between the Civil Aviation Authority, the Labour Inspection Authority, the tax authorities, the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Authority and the police to promote appropriate enforcement of the regulations on taxation, social security and working environment. The Ministry of Transport and Communications will take the initiative to ensure closer collaboration between these agencies.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications will also examine the opportunities for a closer collaboration between Norway and Denmark as well as other countries as relevant, with regard to monitoring of HES for flight personnel.
International cooperation and harmonisation of regulations
In January 2014, Minister of Transport and Communications Ketil Solvik-Olsen sent a letter to the then EU Commissioner of Transport, Siim Kallas. With this initiative, Norway wished to challenge the EU Commission to engage in a discussion of issues raised by the globalisation of the aviation industry. The explanatory memorandum, which will now be sent on a consultation round, relates to these challenges.
‘We will continue to take initiatives in relation to the EU and our neighbouring countries in this area. Norway has a lot to contribute to the development of joint European regulations,’ says Minister of Transport and Communications Ketil Solvik-Olsen.
Specifies the Immigration Regulations
The Legislation Department of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security has assessed the relationship between the Schengen Borders Code and the Immigration Regulations and has concluded that they conflict. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs therefore proposes to specify the Immigration Regulations to emphasise that Norway complies with her obligations under international law after the amendments to the Schengen Borders Code.
‘The specification makes clear that foreign flight personnel may exercise their right to simplified entry to Norway, irrespective of whether they are working on a Norwegian or a foreign aircraft. In practice, this will only give flight personnel the right to “stop over” at Oslo Airport Gardermoen and will be immaterial for domestic air travel,’ says Anniken Hauglie, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.
The explanatory memorandum from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs shows that the Government’s specification of the regulation will concur with the actions already taken by other countries. The specification is sent on a consultation round to obtain input, if any, to the wording of the regulations. The deadline for the hearing has been set at seven weeks.
Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA has warned of a possible lawsuit to clarify which set of regulations are applicable. This calls for a quick clarification.
Which rights apply?
Aviation employee organisations have pointed out to the Ministry of Transport and Communications that flight personnel who move between different countries have difficulty in gaining an overview of their rights. The explanatory memorandum from the Ministry of Transport and Communications therefore includes a review of legal issues related to labour conditions and social security.
The hearing – deadline 15 June 2016 (Norwegian text)