Norwegian Air Shuttle announced it would cancel its pending order for 92 Boeing 737 MAX and 5 Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets. The airline reiterated its will to receive compensation for the losses generated by the 737 MAX grounding and the 787 Dreamliner Rolls-Royce engine problems.
“Norwegian has engaged in a commercial dialogue with Boeing with a view to resolving its 787 and 737 MAX issues and obtaining compensation for its losses,” the carrier revealed in a statement. “The dialogue has [not yet] led to an agreement with reasonable compensation for the Company.” Additionally to the disruption of its operations, Norwegian wants to be reimbursed of the deposits already paid for the canceled planes.
The airline had announced as early as March 2019 that it would “send the bill” to Boeing after it had been forced to ground its fleet of 18 737 MAX 8. Previously, after seeing its Dreamliners affected by engine problems, Norwegian also managed to reach an agreement with Rolls-Royce in late December 2018. The engine manufacturer was due to repay the carrier €100 million for the technical challenges it faced.
Already in great financial difficulties at the beginning of 2020, Norwegian was also hit hard by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. As it was on the verge of bankruptcy, the company secured $300 million in state aid guarantee in May 2020, along with the conversion of part of its existing debt and its financial commitments into new shares.
The news came on the same day that Boeing successfully carried out the first test flights for the recertification of its 737 MAX, in the lead-up to the plane’s return to service after 14 months of global grounding. The three-day flight campaign aims at testing the updated MCAS that initially caused the two crashes that killed 346 people.