Norwegian Airlines yesterday joined a number of airlines and nations grounding the Boeing 737 MAX. The news comes after two similar accidents involving the type in just six months. Now, the carrier is insisting that the manufacturer pays compensation after Norwegian grounded Boeing’s aircraft.
While multiple airlines and aviation authorities continue to ground the Boeing 737 MAX, both Boeing and the FAA have so far refused to do so. They argue that the aircraft is safe to fly, while the FAA says that nobody has passed them data that would warrant action.
Why is the 737 MAX being grounded?
The Boeing 737 MAX has been involved in two fairly similar accidents in the space of six months. While the accidents have yet to be conclusively linked, there do appear to be some striking similarities. Both aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff. In the case of the Lion Air incident, this was caused by the nose being trimmed down by on board technology.
Concerns are that a similar fault was the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines accident, and that the aircraft has a fundamental design flaw. However, until the investigation has been completed, this is nothing more than speculation. When it comes to aviation safety, erring on the side of caution is a good strategy, which is what many carriers and authorities have decided to do.
Can Norwegian afford to ground the aircraft?
The decision by Norwegian to ground the Boeing 737 MAX will not have been taken lightly. They took the proactive step of taking the MAX out of service of their own free will, although subsequently they would have had to anyway. Shortly after Norwegian announced their grounding, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency banned 737 MAX operations within the EU completely.
Earlier in the year, Simple Flying reported that Norwegian was in financial difficulties, and in January the airline was looking to raise $350m. Grounding these aircraft will clearly be costly for the airline financially, however, safety is always the priority, and must come before profit.
Will Boeing provide compensation?
In a statement issued to RTE, Norwegian have said, “We expect Boeing to take this bill”.
Whether Boeing will provide Norwegian compensation is an interesting question. For starters, Boeing is yet to ground the aircraft itself. It could argue that as they themselves didn’t deem the aircraft unsafe, no compensation is due.
In the event that Boeing provides Norwegian with compensation, every other 737 MAX operator would also argue that they are entitled to payment too. This could end up costing Boeing dearly, especially as they continue to argue that the aircraft is safe.
Whether Boeing will pay Norwegian’s bill is yet to be seen. Simple Flying has approached representatives of both Norwegian and Boeing for comment.
Do you think Boeing should compensate airlines for grounding the aircraft? Let us know in the comments down below!