Icelandair’s Boeing 737 MAX-8s to Fly to France
Icelandair’s Boeing 737 MAX-8 planes, grounded last year after two crashes involving the same model in Ethiopia and Indonesia, will be flown to France for storage this week. Þórarinn Hjálmarsson, one of the four pilots assigned to the task, told Vísir there’s nothing to fear on the flights. Strict conditions must be met to fly the planes across Europe.
The five MAX-8 planes will be kept in Toulouse, France, in order to protect them from wear and tear caused by harsher weather conditions at Keflavík Airport. The pilots have been training in a flight simulator to prepare for the journey. “We need to fly with the wing flaps out, as little as possible,” Þórarinn explained. “We need to go at a lower speed and we need to be at a lower altitude than usual.” Under such conditions, Þórarinn says, a crash like those that occurred in Ethiopia and Indonesia is “just not possible.” The trip will take two hours longer than normal, as the planes cannot exceed an altitude of 20,000 feet.
Þórarinn has full faith in the MAX-8 jets, and says he hopes they will go into commercial use next year. “I would take my whole family on a flight like this,” Þórarinn remarked.