Norwegian Air has said its Cork flights to Rhode Island remain on schedule for a July start despite Boeing suspending testing of its new aircraft due to engine issues.
The airline is to use Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft for its transatlantic itinerary, which include Cork’s first ever route to the US.
Norwegian will also fly from Dublin, Shannon and Belfast to Rhode Island and New York. Boeing said it had temporarily halted test flights of its new 737 Max aircraft due to an engine issue. It is jointly made by General Electric and Safran of France. The grounding comes days before Boeing was due to deliver its first 737 Max to a Malaysian airline and marks a high-profile delay in a program that Boeing had said was ahead of schedule.
Boeing and enginemaker CFM said it does not know how long the delay will last. Boeing shares fell over 1%. The 737 Max replaces a version of Boeing’s best- selling single-aisle aircraft and low-cost carriers see the fuel-efficient design as the best way to make transatlantic travel profitable.
Norwegian boss Bjorn Kjos said last month the airline felt compelled to use American-made Boeing to establish a good relationship with the Trump administration, which has made US-made manufacturing a priority.
The Trump administration gave the go-ahead to Norwegian after more than a year of delays under the Obama administration.
Competitor Airbus has introduced the similar fuel-efficient A320Neo aircraft.
A Norwegian spokesperson said “Norwegian has bee informed of the temporary pause in the testing of the Boeing 737 Max. Boeing has given us a new delivery date of our first Max, which is a few days later than previous estimates. However, this will not delay the launch of our upcoming transatlantic routes from Ireland to the US.”
Additional reporting Reuters
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved