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.
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.