Icelandair Grounds Boeing 737 Max 8 Planes

Pictured above is an Icelandair Boeing 757 plane.

Icelandair Group released today that it will ground its Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, three in total. The planes will be grounded for the foreseeable future. Icelandair stocks had fallen rapidly on the Reykjavík stock exchange.

The decision to ground the plane follows in the wake of numerous countries and airlines who have decided to ground the 737 Max 8 type. British aviation authorities grounded the planes in their airspace today while Norwegian Air has also grounded their planes. Indonesian, Australian, Chinese, and Singaporean authorities had previously grounded the planes.

“According the information at hand, the security measures in place at the company, as well as crew training, we believe the planes are safe. This decision will have limited short term effects on the company as it only involves 3 out of the 33 passenger jets in the company’s fleet, and thus the company has leeway to react in the coming weeks,” read part of Icelandair’s report.

Icelandair has ordered 16 of the plane types in total but has three in their fleet at this point in time. Boeing 737 Max planes were first put into use in 2016. There are 350 Max 8 planes in use in the world, out of a total 5,011 ordered. A small number of Boeing 737 Max 9’s are operating, while the Max 7 and Max 10 models are expected to arrive in the next few years.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 planes have come under scrutiny following the plane crash of a Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines. All 157 passenger lost their lives in the crash, which was the second crash in five months of a 737 Max 8 plane, as a Lion Air plane crash five months. Both of the planes crashed shortly after taking off.

Icelandair had previously stated that it will not ground the aircraft, as the reasons for the Ethiopian airlines crash were not clear.

CEO comments

Icelandair CEO Bogi Nils Bogason stated that the United Kingdom’s decision to ground the aircraft type in their airspace was a key factor in Icelandair’s decision. “We have full belief in this aircraft and expect that they will be put to great use in our route system in the future,” Bogi stated. He says that Icelandair can keep them grounded for the remainder of March without great troubles. It is planned that Icelandair will add three Max 8 aircraft as well as three Max 9 to its fleet this summer, bringing the total amount of Max 8 in their fleet to six.

Passengers who had booked a flight with to London were supposed to travel in a Max 8 aircraft but were transferred to a Boeing 757.

Changing Lanes, Part 2: The Future of Urban Planning in Reykjavík

Reykjavík is a city still finding its feet. It’s unique in many ways, pencilled onto a peninsula that stretches westwards into the Atlantic Ocean towards Greenland. Far from a populous metropolis, its surface area nevertheless stretches further than its meagre population would suggest. It offers closeness to nature, along with clean air, water, and energy. Still, there’s an airport right in the city centre. But changes are afoot in the city.

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Appeals Court Appointments Illegal, Says European Court of Human Rights

Minister of Justice Sigríður Andersen.

Iceland violated Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, meant to ensure individuals’ right to a fair trial, in the appointment of judges to the recently established Court of Appeals. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) published the ruling in the case this morning, which states the Icelandic state is to pay the applicant €15,000 ($16,900) in respect of costs and expenses. At least two MPs have called for Justice Minister Sigríður Andersen to resign.

The appointments

Iceland’s Court of Appeals (Landsréttur) was established on January 1, 2018, as a new mid-tier court between district courts and the Supreme Court of Iceland. Minister of Justice Sigríður Á. Andersen received heavy criticism from opposition MPs for failing to follow the recommendations of a selection committee in her nominations of judges to the new court. In March 2018, opposition MPs put forth a motion of no-confidence against the minister, which was voted down with 33 votes to 29, with one MP abstaining.

The four aspiring Court of Appeals judges whose nominations were passed over by the minister have all sued the state for compensation and damages. The Supreme Court has ruled two of them be compensated ISK 700,000 (USD 6,800/EUR 5,600) but denied their claim to liability for damages.

Call for resignation

Social Democratic Alliance chairman Logi Már Einarsson and Helga Vala Helgadóttir, chairperson of the Constitutional and Supervisory Committee, say the ECHR’s ruling should prompt Sigríður to resign. Helga Vala called the issue a “complete mess” on the part of the Icelandic government. Logi Már stated the situation is “serious if people can’t trust they are able to have a fair trial.” Logi stated that it’s not yet known what legal effect the ruling will have, but that some believe that the Court of Appeals is not fit to serve its purpose.

Update: In light of the ruling, the Court of Appeals has decided to postpone all cases involving one of the four judges appointed by Sigríður in opposition to the selection committee’s suggestions until next week.

Nach dem Orkan: Es bleibt stürmisch und ungemütlich

Auch heute, am Tag nach der Orkannacht, bleibt es in weiten Teilen Islands sehr stürmisch und ungemütlich. Bis zum Mittag muss vor allem im Südosten des Landes immer noch mit Windböen von 30 bis 40 m/s gerechnet werden, berichtet RÚV. Im Norden und Osten des Landes kann es schneien, Temperaturen um den Gefrierpunkt können die Autofahrt dort zur Rutschpartie machen.

Dem Sturmtief folgt ein weiteres Tief von Südost, welches Niederschläge – Schnee und in den Niederungen Regen – mit sich bringt. Ungemütlich bleibt es wohl in den kommenden Tagen im gesamten Land.

Die Ringstrasse zwischen Hvolsvöllir und Vík í Mýrdal ist zur Zeit immer noch gesperrt. Dort besteht Gefahr von fliegendem Sand und Geröll. In der Region wurde in der vergangenen Nacht auch ein Windböenrekord geschlagen, berichtet mbl.is, an der Messstation Steinar unterhalb des Eyjafjallajökull wurden 67,9 m/s aufgezeichnet.

In Südisland hatten die freiwilligen Retter zu einem Einsatz ausrücken müssen, wo ein Fahrzeug sich auf der Fjallabakleið am Frostastaðaháls festgefahren hatte, berichtet RÚV. Zwei Fahrzeuge, die dem Fahrer zur Hilfe eilten, blieben auf dem Weg in einem Eisloch stecken, die Männer liefen zu Fuss zu dem dritten Auto und warteten dort alle gemeinsam auf Hilfe. Der Notruf ging gegen 2 Uhr nachts ein, am frühen Morgen waren Retter und Gerettete wieder im Warmen. 20 Freiwillige der Rettungseinheiten von Flúðir, Hvolsvöllir und Hella waren bei allerschlechtestem Wetter unterwegs gewesen.

Auch auf hoher See konnte man dem Wetter nicht trotzen, nachdem zwei isländische Schiffe auf Wittlingsfang vor der irischen Küste heftige Brecher abbekommen hatten, zogen sich alle vor Ort befindlichen sechs Schiffe in die Bucht von Donegal zurück, um das Wetter dort abzuwarten.