While all Boeing 737 MAX are grounded for commercial flights around the world, there are still some in the skies. Norwegian Air has just tried to fly one of their 737 MAX aircraft from Malaga, Spain to Stockholm, Sweden for storage.
Unfortunately for Norwegian Air, they failed to do their homework properly and never made it to Stockholm.
— Fabian Behr (@BehrPictures) June 11, 2019
Taking off from Malaga airport at 6.42 am yesterday morning (June 11th 2019), The Norwegian Air 737 MAX was scheduled to land in Sweden at 12.18pm. Having successfully flown through Spanish and French airspace, the captain was informed that he would not be allowed to fly over Germany.
Now forced into a holding pattern around the French cities of Metz and Nancy, the aircraft eventually landed at Châlons Vatry Airport not far from the French capital of Paris.
As of now, we have no information whether or not the aircraft, registration number SE-RTB will be allowed to resume its flight to Sweden. It may have to stay on the ground in France or return to Malaga in Spain.
I thought that the 737 MAX was grounded everywhere?
Apparently, despite the grounding of the 737 MAX around the world, airlines are allowed to fly the planes so that they can be repositioned for storage.
For the Norwegian Air 737 MAX to fly over European airspace, pilots were only permitted to do so if they adhered to strict conditions. The conditions imposed by EASA are that the captain of the aircraft must be qualified as TRI with LIFUS and FSTD. The First Officer must have more than 300 hours in NG and 200 in MAX.
Other than the pilot and first officer, no other crew members of passengers are allowed to be on the flight. They also must fly the plane at FL1200 with flaps for the entire journey, as the MCAS system does not activate automatically when the flaps are in use.
Storage solutions for Norwegians 737 MAX aircraft
Unless you wanted to get your 737 MAX back to its home airport why would you just not leave the aircraft at the airport it was in before the flight ban came into effect? Sure, it costs a lot of money just to park an aircraft at an airport, but won’t Boeing be liable for the bill, seeing as it was their fault that the plane was grounded?
When aircraft are not in use they still need to be looked after. Control services need to be manipulated, flight computers turned on, not to mention basic chores like protecting the planes from the elements and making sure birds and insects don’t decide to set up home.
If you look at the situation this way, you would want your own people to be looking after your million dollar investment. This is probably why Norwegian Air tried to fly their 737 MAX back to Sweden rather than have it sitting on the tarmac in Spain.
H/T – Fabian Behr on Twitter