In March 2019, the Boeing 737 Max was officially removed from European airspace. The grounding, and therefore the inability to use the aeroplane, hit some European airlines harder than others. Below we have outlined all the details on the prohibition of the Boeing 737 Max and how airlines flying these aircraft, such as Ryanair, TUI fly and Norwegian, have been affected.
All the details on the Boeing 737 Max
Originally, the Boeing 737 Max was Boeing’s response to the new aircraft created by its biggest competitor Airbus. The new A320neo has an optimised engine that uses less fuel. In efforts to rival this new plane, the American manufacturer designed the 737 Max. Initially, the new model was supposed to receive a complete overhaul. However, the project only produced an update of its already existing 737 aircraft model. Two new and more fuel-efficient engines were added and the 737 Max was born.
When and why was the Boeing 737 Max grounded?
The Boeing aircraft was grounded shortly after a second accident in March 2019, however Boeing claimed the 737 Max as fit to fly shortly after the second accident but then overruled its decision, also due to pressure from regulators, grounding all aircraft of this model until this day.
The aircraft was grounded as it was deemed unfit to fly due to issues with some software, this triggered non stop working on Boeing’s side and some heavy reworking of the software used in this aircraft. Originally, it was planned that the aircraft would come back into service in November. However, some experts say that the aircraft manufacturer will take longer to fix all the issues.
In the past few months, there have been further disagreements between Boeing and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as the aircraft has stumbled across even more bugs and issues than initially thought. Additionally, EASA claimed it would not agree to lift the grounding of the aeroplane until it was “the safest plane out there”.
How European airlines such as Ryanair, TUI and Norwegian Air have been affected
Europe’s largest and most successful budget airline, Ryanair, reported recently that if the 737 Max aircraft remains grounded for much longer, it will face great losses. With its growth strategy already set in stone for 2020, the grounding of the aircraft model during the year would challenge the predictions. Furthermore, the Irish carrier has purchased as many as 50 newly built 737 Max models that have not been delivered as per the official grounding. Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO, explained that “The challenge for us is that we need to see the plane back flying by the end of September, October, November at the latest, so as not to disrupt our growth for the summer of 2020."
Additionally, TUI fly which is one of the largest Boeing 737 Max operators in Europe, has strongly been affected by the 737 Max grounding. Last summer, it claimed to have had 149 million euros in losses. TUI has already claimed that it would be reinstating the 737 Max from April 2020 on.
Another European airline, Norwegian Airline Shuttle has 18 737 Max among its 160-aircraft fleet. Having already struggled to turn a profit, the airline was hit hard by the grounding of the model. The air carrier was planning to invest in the new airliner to replace its older 737 models but was forced to delay the investment. Being a member of Boeing’s GoldCare maintenance program, the CEO of the Norwegian airline explained that he had some "hope to be at the front of the queue” regarding the updates to the model and having the aircraft return to the skies as soon as possible.
Will the Boeing 737 Max fly again?
Yes, the aircraft is due to fly again. It was scheduled to return during the late summer months but further complications postponed the lifting of the ban by EASA. The Federal Aviation Authority of the United States of America also discovered a number of other problems with the model, delaying the return to the month of November n Boeing’s home country.
Boeing claims the 737 Max will fly again soon
Official boards and organizations are not sure if the November timeframe for seeing the plane back in the skies may actually be the case or if airlines, such as Ryanair, will have to wait a bit longer for the aeroplane to return. Struggling low-cost airlines, like Norwegian Air, depend heavily on the model, especially in a time where fuel prices are rising and more efficient planes will help counteract these costs.
Ryanair, Norwegian Air or TUI flight delays, cancellations or overbookings
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