Tuesday 19 March 2019

Norwegian to deploy Dreamliner jet to support hundreds of stranded passengers as airlines ground Boeing 737 Max 8

  • Hundreds of Dublin-bound passengers were stranded
  • At least 25 airlines are grounding their jets
  • Ethiopian Airlines plane killed 157 people on Sunday
Some Boeing 737 Max 8 jets have been grounded (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Some Boeing 737 Max 8 jets have been grounded (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Norwegian Air have said that they will temporarily deploy a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to operate US flights from Dublin Airport to support affected customers, with many stranded last night.

A growing number of airlines around the world have grounded their Boeing 737 Max 8 jets following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that killed 157 people on Sunday.

Hundreds of passengers bound for Dublin were stranded last night in the U.S after their flights were cancelled due to concerns surrounding the Boeing 737 Max 8.

Norwegian Air, which flies the Max 8 from Dublin and Shannon airports, cancelled routes from Dublin to Providence, Rhode Island, Newburgh and New York.

Boeing 737 MAX 8 factfile (PA Graphics)
Boeing 737 MAX 8 factfile (PA Graphics)

A flight from Dublin to Providence at 2.55pm today has been cancelled, and another one from Dublin to New York Stewart has been delayed this evening.

Customers were told that they will be re-booked onto the next available service or can rebook or refund their ticket free of charge online.

A Norwegian Air spokesperson said that customers booked on affected transatlantic routes to and from Ireland serviced by the 737 Max will be re-booked onto flights using the 787-9 Dreamliner instead.

The 787 Dreamliner, registered G-CKWF with Charles Lindbergh on the aircraft tail, will operate the Dublin-New York Stewart route.

Boeing has already stated it has full confidence in the safety of the plane but the European Union Aviation Safety Agency issued an emergency airworthiness instruction after the Ethiopian air disaster in which Irish aid worker Micheal Ryan died alongside 156 others on Sunday.

The airline said today that it will seek compensation from plane maker Boeing for costs and lost revenue .

"We expect Boeing to take this bill," Norwegian said in an emailed statement.

Here is a list of airlines and countries that have grounded the aircraft so far:

A Boeing 737 Max 8 being built for Oman Air (Ted S Warren/PA)
A Boeing 737 Max 8 being built for Oman Air (Ted S Warren/PA)

Ireland

Aviation authorities have suspended all variants of Boeing 737 Max aircraft into and out of Ireland's air space.

Officials said they made the decision "based on ensuring the continued safety of passengers and flight crew".

UK

The Civil Aviation Authority said it had, as a precautionary measure, "issued instructions to stop any commercial passenger flights from any operator arriving, departing or overflying UK air space".

Five 737 Max aircraft are registered and operational in the UK, while a sixth was due to come into service later this week.

France

The French Civil Aviation Authority has closed French air space to all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

Officials said France is "carefully following the progress of the inquiry" relating to the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash in Addis Ababa.

It said French airlines do not have any Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, but as a precautionary measure authorities have decided to "forbid all commercial flights on a Boeing 737 Max departing from, travelling to, or flying across, France".

Germany

The transport ministry said the country is closing its air space to Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

The ministry confirmed to news agency dpa comments made by transport minister Andreas Scheuer to n-tv television.

The broadcaster quoted Mr Scheuer as saying safety is the priority, and "until all doubts are cleared up, I have ordered that German air space be closed for the Boeing 737 Max with immediate effect".

Norway

Norwegian Air Shuttle says it has grounded its Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft on a recommendation from European aviation authorities. The low-cost carrier has 18 of the planes.

Acting chief operating officer Tomas Hesthammer said: "The safety and security of our customers and colleagues will never be compromised, and once authorities advise to cease operations we will of course comply."

Australia

Australia has suspended all flights into or out of the country by Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority says no Australian airlines operate the aircraft type, but two foreign airlines - SilkAir and Fiji Airways - fly them to Australia.

Director of aviation safety, Shane Carmody, says that because of the two accidents, the temporary suspension of Boeing 737 Max operations is in the best interest of safety.

Netherlands

Infrastructure and water ministry spokesman Roel Vincken says the government decided to close its air space following advice from the Dutch aviation authority.

Poland

State carrier LOT said it is grounding its five Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

LOT received its first Max 8 in December 2017. It had been planning to have 15 by January next year.

Italy

The Italian Civil Aviation Authority says the Max 8 cannot operate to and from airports in Italy until further notice.

The authority said the measure is precautionary, given the lack of "reliable information" regarding the cause of the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines jet.

Canada

A Lion Air jet crashed in October (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim, File)
A Lion Air jet crashed in October (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim, File)

Canadian charter airline Sunwing is suspending use of its four Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.

Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said he had no plans to ground Canada's fleet of 737 Max aircraft, but that "all options are on the table".

Ethiopia

A spokesman for Ethiopian Airlines says it will ground its remaining four Max 8 jets as an "extra safety precaution" while it investigates Sunday's deadly crash.

Asrat Begashaw said investigations and the search for bodies and aircraft debris will continue. The airline is awaiting the delivery of 25 more Max 8 jets.

Brazil

Brazil's Gol Airlines has suspended the use of 121 Max 8 jets. The airline said it is following the investigation of the Max 8 closely and hopes to return the aircraft to use as soon as possible.

Gol said it has made nearly 3,000 flights with the Max 8, which went into service last June, with "total security and efficiency".

Cayman Islands

Cayman Airways, a Caribbean carrier, said it stopped using its two Max 8 jets starting on Monday. President and CEO Fabian Whorms said the airline is committed to "putting the safety of our passengers and crew first".

Mr Whorms said the move will cause changes to flight schedules. Cayman is the flag carrier of Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory. It received its first Max 8 in November and its second earlier this month.

China

China has 96 Max 8 jets in service, belonging to carriers such as Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines. The civilian aviation authority directed the planes to be grounded indefinitely on Monday.

It said the order was "taken in line with the management principle of zero tolerance for security risks". There were eight Chinese citizens on the Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed shortly after taking off on Sunday. The authority said it will consult the US Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing before deciding when to lift the ban.

India

India's Jet Airways says it is "in contact with the manufacturer" of Max 8 jets and has grounded five of them starting on Monday.

Indian airline SpiceJet also uses the aircraft, but it is unclear if those planes are grounded.

On Monday, India's aviation watchdog ordered a safety assessment of the aircraft. It also issued safety instructions for flying the Max 8 jet.

Indonesia

Indonesia says it will temporarily ground Max 8 jets to inspect their airworthiness. Director general of Air Transportation Polana B Pramesti said the move was made to ensure flight safety.

A Lion Air model of the same plane crashed in Indonesia in October. Indonesian airlines operate 11 Max 8 jets. Lion Air, which owns 10 of them, said it will try to minimise the impact of the decision on operations. The other Max 8 jet belongs to national carrier Garuda.

Mexico

Mexican airline Aeromexico has suspended flights of its six Max 8 jets after the crash in Ethiopia.

Aeromexico said it "fully" trusts the safety of its fleet but ordered the grounding to ensure "the safety of its operations and the peace of mind of its customers". It said other planes will take over the routes usually flown by the Max 8.

Singapore

Singapore has temporarily banned Max 8 jets - and other models in the Max range - from entering and leaving the country.

The civil aviation authority said it was "closely monitoring the situation" and the ban will be "reviewed as relevant safety information becomes available". It added that it was in close communication with the FAA, Boeing and other aviation authorities.

SilkAir, a regional carrier owned by Singapore Airlines, has six Max 8 jets. It said the ban "will have an impact on some of the airline's flight schedules". The authority said flights to Singapore by China Southern Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Shandong Airlines and Thai Lion Air will also be affected.

South Korea

An Eastar Jet official said that the planes will be replaced by Boeing 737-800 planes from Wednesday on routes to Japan and Thailand.

She said the airline has not found any problems, but is voluntarily grounding Boeing 737 Max 8s in a response to customer concerns. She says the planes will not be used until the completion of a government safety review on the aircraft.

An official from South Korea's Transportation Ministry says it has yet to find any problems from safety reviews on Eastar's planes that started on Monday.

Oman

The sultanate's Public Authority for Civil Aviation announced it is "temporarily suspending" flights by Boeing 737 Max aircraft at its airports.

State-owned Oman Air operates five Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

Malaysia

Authorities say all flights by Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft into and out of the country have been suspended.

The Civil Aviation Authority said no Malaysian carriers operate the Max 8, but that foreign airlines are banned from flying the plane in Malaysia, and from transiting in the country, until further notice.

Turkey

Turkish Airlines said it is grounding all Boeing 737 Max aircraft in its fleet until further notice.

Chief executive Bilal Eksi said all Boeing 737 Max flights are suspended until the "uncertainty affecting safety is cleared". He added that passenger safety is the company's priority.

Vietnam

Vietnam said it is banning Boeing 737 Max planes from flying into its airspace.

Dinh Viet Thang, director of Vietnam's civil aviation authority, said that airlines flying those models of planes will have to change the aircraft for safety purposes. The ban lasts until further notice.

None of Vietnam's four airlines uses the Max model planes in their fleets, but Korea's Eastar Jet, Thai Lion Air and Malaysia's Malindor Air fly those planes to Vietnamese destinations.

South Africa

Comair, the operator of British Airways and Kulula flights in South Africa, says it has grounded its Boeing 737 Max 8 while it consults with Boeing, other operators and technical experts.

A statement did not say how many planes were affected. It said the decision was made without intervention from regulatory authorities.

New Zealand

New Zealand and Fiji have suspended Boeing 737 Max 8 flights in and out of the two countries.

The decision only affects one operator, Fiji Airways. No New Zealand airlines use the Max 8 planes.

UAE

The UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority said its ban on the aircraft in its airspace was "a precautionary measure".

The 737 Max is the workhorse of the Dubai government-owned budget carrier FlyDubai. It operates 11 Boeing 737 Max 8 and two Max 9 jetliners. Its total fleet is around 60 aircraft, including other models of the 737.

Lebanon

The 737 Max has reportedly been banned from Lebanese airports.

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