Icelandair Lays Off All Its Boeing 737 MAX Pilots Amid Grounding Uncertainty
Nearly 50 Boeing 737 MAX pilots are losing jobs in apparent fallout from the plane's extended grounding.
Icelandair says it has dismissed 24 Boeing 737 MAX pilots and cancelled training for an additional 21 who had been scheduled to begin flying for the carrier later this summer. Icelandair spokesman Michael Raucheisen confirmed the move to TPG on Friday.
Separately, a spokeswoman for the airline told Air Transport World: "This decision was made as it is expected that the suspension of the 737 MAX aircraft will last longer than anticipated and we have made changes to our flight schedule until Sept. 15 to reflect that."
The development comes amid growing uncertainty about when Boeing's aircraft might be cleared to fly again. The aircraft was grounded worldwide in March after an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX became the second to crash in about five month's time. The crashes killed all 346 passengers and crew on the two flights. Investigations continue, though much of the focus has centered on the MAX’s new automated Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).
Since the 737 MAX's grounding in March, Icelandair has leased three additional aircraft to help cover routes for the summer season, with plans to lease a fourth, reports Aviation24.
Even with the extra planes, the MAX suspension has lead to a 5% decrease in passenger capacity for Icelandair during the carrier's busiest time of the year, leading to a suspension of routes and the cancellation of some routes. Passengers affected by this change in service can expect to be contacted by the airline.