European budget airline Norwegian Air has reportedly canceled orders for 97 Boeing aircraft. This 97-aircraft cancelation consists of 92 737 MAX narrowbody jets and five widebody 787 Dreamliners. In addition to the order cancelation, the airline has filed a lawsuit against Boeing in order to reclaim pre-delivery payments for the aircraft.
“We are not going to comment on commercial discussions with our customers. Norwegian Air Shuttle is a long-standing Boeing customer. As with many operators dealing with a very challenging time, we are working on a path forward.” – Official Boeing statement to Simple Flying
All 737 MAX jets on order canceled
We’ve known for quite some time now that Norwegian has had 92 737 MAX aircraft on order. With these latest reports indicating a cancelation of all 92, it appears that Norwegian is looking to get out of its future 737 commitment completely.
To date, the Norwegian group of airlines has taken delivery of 18 737 MAX jets. According to Airfleets, this includes three with Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norway) and 13 with Norwegian Air (Sweden). A further two are under the ownership of Norwegian Air International – registered in Ireland.
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Making matters worse for Boeing is Norwegian’s cancelation of five Dreamliners. The twin-engine widebody has been a core part of Norwegian’s long-haul operations, taking passengers between Europe and the United States as well as between Europe and Argentina.
In fact, in February 2018, the first of the Norwegian 787 flights to South America departed from London Gatwick (LGW), for Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE). Of course, much has changed since 2018, and the once rapid-pace of Norwegian’s expansion has fizzled out due to a global health crisis.
Along with the aircraft order cancelations, Norwegian is canceling its GoldCare service contract. The airline had launched Boeing’s 737 MAX GoldCare offering when its first airplane was delivered in 2017. Under the agreement, Boeing was to provide this exclusive coverage through 2034 for both the MAX and 787.
According to a Boeing GoldCare promotional document, GoldCare is marketed as “a premier integrated service that brings together the essential support and solutions from the Boeing Edge portfolio to successfully manage the materials, materials, and maintenance of your fleet.”
Insult to injury
Further adding insult to injury, Norwegian has filed a lawsuit against Boeing. In a statement obtained by Reuters, the airline said the following:
“Norwegian has in addition filed a legal claim seeking the return of pre-delivery payments related to the aircraft and compensation for the company’s losses related to the grounding of the 737-MAX and engine issues on the 787,”
Given the global health crisis that has hit airlines particularly hard, it is not surprising that Norwegian is looking to cancel its future aircraft commitments. As many airlines envision a two- to three-year recovery period, any new aircraft orders would be a waste of cash – cash that is crucial to airline survival during this catastrophic period.
What do you think of this latest development? Do you think the filing of this lawsuit was a last resort for Norwegian? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.