Vaccines and Boeing news brighten Icelandair spirits

19.11.2020 - 12:21
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: RÚV - Bragi Valgeirsson
The director of Icelandair, Bogi Nils Bogason, says he is more optimistic than before that the airline can turn its fortunes around next summer. News of the coronavirus vaccines and the imminent return of Boeing 737 MAX planes to the skies is good for Icelandair, he says. Icelandair plans to fly six of its new 737 MAX 8s next year, but Bogi says it will be important to make sure passengers trust the planes.

Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft have been grounded for 20 months after two crashes that killed 346 people. The American aviation authorities confirmed yesterday that the 737 MAX is being re-certified as airworthy. That decision only applies to airlines in the USA, though. 

“What we’re waiting for now is for the European aviation authorities to do the same. That will probably happen in the coming weeks. We are expecting to bring the planes back into our fleet and route network in the spring,” Bogi Nils told RÚV. 

Icelandair already owns six of the planes and expects to take delivery of six more in the coming months. The company cancelled orders for four others as part of its compensation package agreed with Boeing this summer. Bogi says efforts will be made to persuade people that the planes are safe. 

“When we start to fly the planes, aviation authorities around the whole world will probably have approved the plane and its airworthiness. We naturally need to explain this process very well for our customers. We expect that will go well.” 

After an extremely tough few months for airlines, things appear to be taking a turn for the better, though it is still to early to predict how strong demand will be. 

"The positive news about vaccinations increases my optimism and that of everybody else in this industry. The uncertainty is nevertheless still considerable. We are prepared for a good summer next year, but at the same time the company is also prepared for uncertainty for a fairly long period of time. We are basically preparing for all scenarios,” Bogi Nils says. 

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