How Norwegian Is Dealing With The Boeing 737 MAX Ban

Norwegian Air have stopped sales of tickets on routes normally serviced by their fleet of eighteen Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. Operator confidence in the 737 MAX 8 has plummeted since the Ethiopian Airlines crash this year, and in the shadow of a similar incident with Lion Air last year. This has prompted many carriers to abandon the aircraft until issues have been fixed.  Norwegian Air is now rerouting or reallocating, and even rebooking flights where necessary to meet the seating shortfall.

Boeing 737 MAX8 in Norwegian livery. Photo: Norwegian Air

Creative Scheduling

Norwegian Air will substitute its 737 MAX 8 routes with other aircraft, offering passengers rebookings as necessary. In this way, they intend to alleviate the pressure caused by the removal of the suspect aircraft. The company is already updating its Ireland-U.S. flight schedule as well as offering a flight between Dublin and Hamilton, Toronto. Norwegian Air hopes to offer additional flights to this new destination using a Boeing 737-800 initially.

The economic 737-800 model has been certified under Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standard (ETOPS).  This will allow it to fly the direct route between the two countries on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday each week.  Additionally, the aircraft will be completing regular flights between Dublin and Providence on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Norwegian Air have confirmed that customers booked on flights between Providence and Cork, can be rotated onto the Providence to Dublin flights using the 737-800 service.  The company is also hoping to fill their Shannon-New York-Stewart customers’ spaces by combining Dublin to New York and Providence flights.  The company will use a bus transfer service for travellers where necessary.

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Norwegian Air 787. Image by Norwegian Air

Long term plans

With this need to supply alternative aircraft to the 737 MAX 8, the company’s long-term strategy has been thrown into turmoil. Norwegian Air had planned to sell off six of its 737-800 aircraft and take up the flight capacity with the fleet of 787 aircraft on high capacity routes. The company now plans to wet lease, where necessary, to maintain capacity. This is an arrangement where an airline provides an aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance to another airline to take up any shortfalls in their operations.

Senate takes charge

And the 737 MAX issues continue. On the 27th March, the U.S. Senate began a hearing into the two fatal crashes. Senate plans to call representatives from Boeing and selected carriers to discuss the cause of the accidents and understand possible fixes that will see the aircraft allowed back into service.

A software fix developed by Boeing is close to being implemented across the board. Carriers such as Norwegian Air are unlikely to reinstate the aircraft without extensive testing by Boeing in place. It is hoped that this will provide the necessary evidence that the manufacturer has eliminated the problem with their aircraft.

Norwegian’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Photo: Norwegian Air

Norwegian Air are currently keeping customers up to date with the 737 MAX 8 issues on their website. Travellers are advised to check this for the latest information on their flight plans and aircraft.

20 comments
  1. Your article is incorrect in one important detail. Norwegian is not keeping customers up to date. I am scheduled to fly from Providence to Cork in 13 days. They have not sent any notice whatsoever even indicating that there might be a problem. The booking itself does not indicate that the flight was originally a Boeing 737 Max 8, and calls to customer service offer no information at all, other than you will be notified of options (which include a refund).

  2. Norwegian is the WORST at customer service. I am on a flight with 18 people going to Dublin on April 10! That is 10 days aware of anyone who is calendar challenged. WE have ZERO information on the status. They tell us the flight is not yet cancelled so they cannot help us rebook. They have ZERO plans to plans in place to manage this and will tell that we COULD be rerouted through Stewart NY ( a 3.5 hour bus ride) or we MIGHT get lucky with a replacement plane out of Providence or we MIGHT be offered a refund.

    You all know that Norwegian and every other airline is going to get their money back from Boeing, right? So they should be working with their customer and bending over backwards to provide a reasonable solution or cutting us loose so we can look elsewhere (fat chance at this point).

    This is ridiculous! The absolute opposite of good customer service. The situation is not their fault. Their reaction to the situation is 100% their fault. Regardless of what happens with my flight, I will NEVER fly Norwegian EVER again…rant over.

  3. Sorry – did I just say rant over…jk. To top it all off, when you go to their website to check the status of the flight, you can only check out two days in the future – helpful, right? Never again…

    1. Just found out Norwegian is wet leasing an airbus with Evelop Airlines for their flights from Stewart to Dublin and back. Never heard of Evelop and reviews of them or their planes aren’t that great. No more booking with Norwegian for me.

    1. Maybe in the past, but not good now…..not helping passengers at all to get where they need to get to from Providence. Why should I have to fly to another city farther away to catch a flight to Shannon. Shame on you Norwegian

  4. I am due to fly from Cork to Providence on the 13th of April. The cat and its mother know that this flight is not going to take off. I contacted Norwegian this morning and was told cheerfully that my flight is still on schedule. What rubbish. Norwegian will cause less damage to their customer base in the long term by facing the music and telling us well in advance what is actually happening.

  5. Got notice at 7pm tonight regarding flight tomorrow at 9pm that Evelop is operating the plane. Option is to get a full refund or go. We’re going. Fingers crossed.

    1. I have gotten the same update for my flight to Dublin – operated by Evelop. I’m guessing you are on Stewart to Dublin? Please update when you can – I’d love to know what to expect. I can’t find any reliable information about this airline/plane.

  6. I just got the news from Norwegian about my family’s and my flight to Dublin from Stewart using Evelop. We’re going anyway. A little research mentions that they have 5 planes (Airbuses) and fly mainly as charter flights from Spain and Portugal to Havana. To me, it seems nothing more than a sub-contracting arrangement. The planes are also new, and they have, I think, two more on order.

  7. It would be nice if we had a way to get from Providence to Stewart without having to drive. This will put us way late getting into Stewart to catch our flight.

  8. Amazingly enough, Norwegian just continues to fly these planes! I was on a flight from Oslo to Geneva on the 3 April and was horrified to discover I was seated on this plane!!! How is that legal?

    1. Hey Chris,

      I’d love to hear more about this! I can’t find any record of a Norwegian flight between Oslo and Geneva on the 3rd myself.

      1. Sorry my mistake it was Thursday the 4th of April, departing osl 11.50 arr gva 14.20. We were delayed at take off sitting on the tarmack the pilot announced delay was due to error msg on computer screen… Didn’t exactly calm us down.

        1. No worries Chris,

          I looked into this, you were flying on a Boeing 737-800 that day. It is the Boeing 737 MAX 8 which is grounded, so there’s no cause for alarm in this case.

          1. Thanks Tom. But it said Boeing 737 Max 8 on the plane information/ emergency procedure sheet placed in the seat pockets, so we all assumed it was the grounded model ….

    1. Looks like a 2-4-2 configuration, from what I’ve been able to find. Looks like some of Evelop’s plane have overheard TVs, some have IFE – haven’t been able to figure out which one the plane wet leased to Norwegian is using.

  9. I agree with the previous commentator re on plane information, we flew to Corfu via Tui who subbed it to Norwegian, on that plane the aircraft information/Safety leaflet clearly said 737 MAX so whats the story Norwegian ?

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