Norwegian reveals £45m cost of grounding Boeing 737 Max fleet

By Neil Lancefield, Press Association Transport Correspondent
The airline is rebooking passengers on to other flights and renting alternative planes.

Airline Norwegian has said the grounding of its Boeing 737 Max fleet will cost it up to 500 million Norwegian kroner (£45 million).

The low-cost carrier stopped operating the planes shortly after the Ethiopian Airlines disaster in March, which killed 157 people.

Norwegian, which has 18 of the aircraft, is rebooking passengers on to other flights and renting alternative aircraft in a bid to maintain as much of its schedule as possible.

Chief executive Bjorn Kjos said: “We have had some productive meetings with Boeing where we have discussed how we can manoeuvre through the difficulties the Max situation is causing Norwegian.”

Norwegian reported a first quarter net loss of 1.49 billion kroner (£133 million) but said it has reduced costs.

Passenger numbers increased from 7.48 million to 8.12 million year-on-year during the first three months of 2019.

Mr Kjos added: “I’m pleased with the positive developments this quarter, despite the 737 Max issues.

“We have taken a series of initiatives to improve profitability by reducing costs and increasing revenue.

“We are optimising our base structure and route network to streamline the operation as well as divesting aircraft, postponing aircraft deliveries and not least implementing our internal cost reduction programme, which will boost our financials.

“I am also pleased that booking figures and overall demand for the coming months look promising.”