One of Norwegian Air Shuttle’s brand-new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft has been ‘stuck’ in an airport in Iran since December 14, 2018, after it was forced to perform an unscheduled landing in the city of Shiraz due to engine problems. Over three weeks later, Norwegian’s engineers are still trying to repair the jet.
The Boeing 737 MAX 8 (LN-BKE) was headed for Oslo (Norway) from Dubai (the U.A.E.) with 192 passengers and crew on board when it carried out a “safety landing” in Shiraz, southwestern Iran, due to engine problems on December 14, 2018, according to a spokesman for Norwegian Air Shuttle, Andreas Hjornholm, Le Figaro reported on January 4, 2019, citing news agency AFP.
Flight tracking websites, such as Flightradar24.com, show flight DY1933 diverted to Shiraz International Airport (SYZ) at 12:10 IRST (08:40 UTC) on December 14, 2018, as a result of in-flight engine shutdown. At the time of the incident, the 737 was six weeks old (delivered to Norwegian on October 29, 2018, according to Planespotters.net information).
INCIDENT: Norwegian #DY1933 Dubai to Oslo (Boeing 737 MAX 8 LN-BKE) diverted to Shiraz. Iran at 1210IRST (0840UTC) today with one engine shut down. The aircraft is 6 weeks old.
737-800 LN-DYG is currently inbound to collect the 186 pax.
— Airport Webcams (@AirportWebcams) December 14, 2018
According to various sources citing AFP, the affected passengers were able to return to Oslo the following day on a replacement aircraft. However, Norwegian’s 737 MAX 8 remains stored at the Shiraz International Airport awaiting repair.
Le Figaro reported on January 4, 2019, that engineers who arrived on the replacement aircraft have been unable to repair the brand-new plane due to lack of spare parts, a situation made difficult by international sanctions, which bar the budget airline from sending the required U.S.-made parts to Iran. The U.S. re-imposed sanctions on Tehran in May 2018, after the Trump administration announced it would withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal.
Norwegian Air Shuttle operates an all Boeing 737 fleet, including 50 737-800s and six 737 MAX 8s, of which, all were delivered to the budget carrier through August-December of last year. Across its fully owned subsidiaries, Dublin-based Norwegian Air International, London-based Norwegian UK, Norwegian Air Norway and recently established Norwegian Air Argentina, the company’s all-Boeing fleet consists of around 160 aircraft total, including 737-800s, 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliners. It is known for having one of the youngest and most “green” fleets in the world.