Icelandair will keep the Boeing 737 MAX off its flight schedule through the end of October as uncertainty about when the grounded aircraft will return to service drags on.
The Icelandic flag carrier has five MAX 8s and one MAX 9 in its fleet, all of which are grounded. Two of the 737-8s are owned by the airline; the remainder are leased in. Icelandair has an additional three -8s and six-9s on order.
To minimize passenger impact, Icelandair has been operating five leased aircraft during the summer season.
The airline has wet-leased two Boeing 767s, temporarily acquired a 757, and brought in two Bombardier Q400s from domestic carrier Air Iceland Connect to make up for the shortfall in seats during the grounding.
The leasing agreements of two of the aircraft will expire at the end of August while the other three will be in operation until the end of September. Icelandair is currently working to extend the leasing agreement of one aircraft through the end of October.
With these changes, the total seat capacity between Sept. 16 and Oct. 26 will decrease by 4% from what the carrier had estimated.
Boeing is developing changes to the MAX flight control software and revamping training to address issues flagged by FAA in the wake of two fatal MAX accidents in five months—Lion Air flight 610 in November 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 in March—followed by the global grounding of its 380-aircraft fleet in mid-March.
Boeing’s latest estimate has it presenting a package to FAA for approval sometime in September. FAA is expected to take at least several weeks to review the package; other regulators also plan to conduct reviews…