Norwegian’s Irish flights to proceed despite delay with new aircraft

Boeing postpones delivery of 737 Max aircraft over ‘minor technical issue’

A technical problem will delay delivery of the first aircraft Norwegian Air planned using on its Irish-US flights but the carrier insists the service will go ahead as planned.

The airline is due to begin flying from Cork, Dublin and Belfast to the northeastern US next month but a minor technical issue is holding up delivery of the first of the Boeing 737 Max craft needed to serve the routes.

A Norwegian spokesman confirmed Boeing has told the airline the problem forced the US manufacturer to postpone the delivery of its first 737 Max.

"This will not affect our operation or our passengers, as the upcoming launch of transatlantic routes between Ireland and the US east coast will be operated by another aircraft type," he said.

Norwegian intends using the Boeing 737-800, a similar craft to the more recently developed Max, for two to three weeks on the routes while it waits for delayed delivery.

The airline is due to receive six 737 Max aircraft from Boeing this year, all of which are earmarked for the routes it is launching from here and Edinburgh in Scotland to the US.

It is not clear if the delay will have a knock-on effect on the scheduled delivery of the other five aircraft. Norwegian said it can rotate up to six 737-800s from its fleet to serve the Irish routes.

A spokeswoman for Boeing said deliveries occasionally run into timing problems, whether for maintenance or other reasons. “In this case, we and our customer decided to reschedule this delivery in order to resolve a minor technical issue,” she said.

The manufacturer would not say what the issue was. The news comes less than a month after Boeing halted 737 Max test flights following an inspection of engines which were to be to used on the craft.

However, it resolved the problem and the first Boeing 737 Max was ultimately delivered last month to Malaysian carrier Malindo Air by Irish aviation lessor Avolon.

The State's airline regulator, the Irish Aviation Authority, said Norwegian had kept it up to date with its plans and the craft it intended using on the routes met all requirements.