Icelandair’s Boeing 737 Max Jets Airborne Again

Keflavík airport Icelandair

Icelandair flew a Boeing 737 Max jet yesterday for the first time in almost two years. The jets were grounded around the world in March 2019 after a failure in their software caused two fatal accidents. Since then, the aircrafts’ computer equipment has been updated in accordance with aviation authorities’ requirements. Icelandair is giving passengers the option to change their flights at no cost if they prefer not to fly on the jets.

Icelandair’s Boeing 737 Max jet named Mývatn landed safely in Copenhagen yesterday morning after a three-hour flight from Iceland. Icelandair PRO Ásdís Ýr Pétursdóttir told RÚV the flight went according to plan, and there were few requests from passengers to change their tickets. For the time being, Icelandair is allowing passengers scheduled on 737 Max jets to do so at no additional cost.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency approved the use of the MAX aircraft at the end of January, and the US Federal Aviation Administration authorised passenger flights in mid-November.

 

Icelandair: Boeing-737 MAX Not Expected to Return This Summer

Icelandair Boeing 737 MAX

In a press release yesterday, Icelandair stated that it did not expect the return of its Boeing-737 MAX planes this summer (the MAX planes were expected to return to service in February). The statement follows recent news from Boeing regarding ongoing cooperation with international aviation authorities to ensure the aircraft’s safe return to service. Icelandair Group, owner and holding company of the airline, also aims to seek further compensation for the grounding of the MAX planes.

In a press release from Icelandair yesterday, the airline stated that it does not expect the return of its Boeing-737 MAX planes this summer. Icelandair expects the continued delay to have a “minimal impact,” considering that the company had designed the 2020 flight schedule with the possibility of further delay in the lifting of the MAX suspension:

“The financial impact of this further suspension will be considerably less this year than in 2019. In addition to the above-mentioned mitigating measures [,] the current leasing agreements were made further in advance than in the year 2019 and are[,] therefore[,] on better terms. The additional aircraft will also be operated with Icelandair crews instead of external crews last year that were leased [on] short notice. The company has[,] therefore[,] been able to organise its operations in 2020 with this possible scenario in mind.”

The press release adds that Icelandair will continue to emphasise the tourism market to Iceland. The company expects to transport at least as many passengers to Iceland this year as in 2019.

As previously reported, Icelandair Group has reached two interim agreements with Boeing regarding compensation for the company’s financial loss resulting from the MAX suspension. “Continued discussions with Boeing regarding further compensation are ongoing,” the press release states.

Icelandair Secures Additional Compensation from Boeing

In an interim report published by Icelandair Group yesterday, Icelandair announced that it had secured a second partial compensation agreement with Boeing (the first agreement was reached in September), owing to the “unprecedented impact” of Icelandair’s five Boeing MAX aircraft having been grounded since last March. The conditions of the agreement are confidential. According to RÚV, Icelandair will continue to negotiate with Boeing for further compensation.

As Iceland Review reported last week, Icelandair does not expect its Boeing 737 Max planes to return to service until the end of February 2020. The airline has adjusted its flight schedule through February 2020. The decision will have a “minimum impact” on previously scheduled flights.

In the above-mentioned report, Bogi Nils Bogason, CEO of Icelandair Group, states that the company’s third-quarter results show improvements in Icelandair Group’s underlying operations despite the suspension of the MAX aircraft: “Operational improvements with EBIT amounting to USD 81.1 million in the quarter, up by USD 2.8 million.” The report also notes that the number of passengers who travelled to Iceland in the quarter increased by 27%.

Icelandair Group’s fourth-quarter results are also expected to improve compared to last year.

Icelandair’s Boeing 737 MAX-8s Grounded Through February

According to a statement released by Icelandair yesterday, the airline does not expect its Boeing 737 Max planes to return to service until the end of February 2020. The airline has adjusted its flight schedule through February 2020. The decision will have a “minimum impact” on previously scheduled flights.

In the meantime, Icelandair will continue to monitor developments in the extensive effort, led by international aviation authorities, to ensure Boeing 737 MAX’s safe return to service. As announced last September, Icelandair has reached an interim agreement with Boeing regarding compensation: “Continued discussions with Boeing regarding compensation for the Company’s financial loss resulting from the suspension are ongoing.”

As reported in Iceland Review in September, Icelandair’s five MAX-8 planes are scheduled to fly to Toulouse, France in order to protect them from wear and tear caused by harsher weather conditions at Keflavík Airport. The planes are slated to be stored with the company Tarmac Aerosave.