Lufthansa Technik has extended its partnership with Norwegian Air Shuttle for another five years. The maintenance and repair subsidiary of Lufthansa will overhaul the airline’s fleet of 90 Boeing 737NGs. Work is set to take place at Lufthansa Technik’s base in Budapest, Hungary, and will begin this September.
The new contract
Lufthansa Technik has been working with Norwegian since 2007, when it began supplying components and support. The successful partnership led to the overhaul and maintenance of wheels, brakes, and CFM56-7B engines. Now, the partnership will include a total overhaul of the airline’s 737NGS.
In a joint statement, Tanja Pustolla of Lufthansa Technik said,
“We are pleased that this new contract will continue a successful cooperation with Norwegian that reaches back to 2007. With our services, we want to play our part in ensuring the continued success of this innovative airline.”
The work on the aircraft is part of Lufthansa Technik’s Total Base Maintenance Support contract, which will provide the airline with access to extra support and unplanned maintenance as and when the airline needs it. Previously, Norwegian worked with Lufthansa Technik under a Total Component Support basis only.
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Of the new, more inclusive contract, Paul Salwik, Head of Technical Procurement at Norwegian, commented,
“The quality and reliability of past services provided by Lufthansa Technik have convinced us to continue to place our trust in our German partner for the overhaul of our Boeing 737NG fleet.”
Norwegian’s Boeing fleet
Norwegian operates an entirely Boeing fleet. According to its website, it currently has 36 787 Dreamliners, 118 737-800s, and 18 737 MAX, which are, of course, grounded. The airline operates its 737-800s on many of its short-haul routes. Currently, its fleet is one of the youngest in the world, with an average age of just 4.6 years.
Norwegian plans to ensure its fleet remains efficient and economical as it ages. Overhauling its 737NGs will give the airline the security to keep flying the aircraft. The desire to overhaul its existing aircraft comes just months after the airline reportedly canceled a large order for 97 new planes from Boeing.
The airline was due to take delivery of 92 737 MAX and five new Dreamliners over the coming years. The carrier has also filed a lawsuit to claw back some of the pre-delivery payments it made for the now-canceled order.
Earlier this year, Norweigian revealed its plans to move forward with a fleet that will be 30% smaller than pre-COVID levels. The carrier was hit hard by the travel restrictions which grounded fleets around the world. Despite securing a NOK 3 billion ($319 million) restructuring loan, the airline needs more cash.
With the 737 MAX still grounded and some 737NGs facing engine issues, an overhaul of its main workhorse is undoubtedly necessary as the airline plans to recover. Perhaps, Norwegian is a perfect example of how putting all your eggs in one basket can sometimes backfire. As the airline begins to operate more flights in the coming months, it will be interesting to watch how its fleet changes.
What do you think of Norweigan’s decision to overhaul its fleet? Do you think it was right to cancel its Boeing order? Let us know your thoughts on Norwegian’s future in the comment section.