Ground Equipment Damages Former Norwegian Argentina 737 Engine

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A recent post on Twitter shows that a former Norwegian Air Argentina Boeing 737 has been damaged from ground equipment this week. The aircraft was shown to have significant damage to its engine in a tweet from August 15th. Here’s what we know.

B737 Norwegian
An ex-Norwegian Air Argentina aircraft has been damaged in storage. Photo: Getty Images

Aircraft damaged in storage

When an aircraft is not being used, it’s quite unlikely that it will get damaged. Why would it when it’s not even leaving the airport? However, that’s precisely what happened to a former Norwegian Air Argentina aircraft earlier this week.

According to reports on Twitter, the Boeing 737-800 registered LV-HQH was damaged as a result of ground equipment on August 15th. It is not clear how it got there, but from photos at the scene, a moveable staircase was partially wedged underneath its left-hand engine.

Photographic evidence shows a significant tear on the underside of the engine, which scored through the metal. It appears that the leverage system for the stairwell caused the hole. Additional damage, such as surface scratches, look to have been caused by the collision.

Ex-Norwegian Air Argentina 737

The aircraft had been in storage at Ezeiza Airport in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. The aircraft is three years old and came to Norwegian Air Argentina on a lease on October 6th, 2018, according to Planespotters.net. Nicknamed Astor Piazolla, the plane appears to have been placed into storage on March 19th when the pandemic heightened.

According to Planespotters.net, the aircraft was taken out of storage on July 31st. It could, therefore, have been during maintenance checks that the plane met its fate.

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We contacted media representatives to find out more about the incident, but they were unable to respond at the time of publication.

B737-800 Norwegian
The aircraft’s damage will be assessed. Photo: Getty Images

So, what will happen now? Well, the aircraft will likely have been checked over to assess the extent of the damage, and maintenance will be carried out based on the assessment. Depending on the severity of the accident, LV-HQH could be delayed in restarting operations.

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Norwegian Air Argentina

Norwegian Air Argentina is a low-cost airline founded in 2017 as a branch of Norwegian Air Shuttle. When the airline decided to remove itself from South America in late 2019, Norwegian sold the subsidiary to JetSMART. The decision to leave Argentina was due to Norwegian’s desire for growth and a more streamlined operational approach.

JetSMART aircraft
Norwegian Air Argentina was sold to JetSMART in December 2019. Photo: Getty Images

Speaking at the time, the CEO of Norwegian said in a press release,

“As Norwegian moves from growth to profitability, we are taking all the necessary actions required to ensure that Norwegian is well-positioned going forward. Over the past few months, we have made important changes to our route network to ensure long-term profitability. Attaining satisfactory profitability for a relatively small domestic operation has proved difficult to achieve, given the overall situation in the country…The sharp depreciation of the peso against the dollar has created a significant gap between costs and revenue.”

Founded just one year before Norwegian Air Argentina, JetSMART is a low-cost Chilean airline based in Santiago de Chile International Airport. According to one of the Simple Flying experts, JetSMART could become the next most successful South American airline. Read more on that story here.

What do you make of this story? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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