Norwegian Air, which makes daily flights out of Stewart Airport in Newburgh to European destinations, decided Monday to suspend flying “until further notice” its Boeing 737 MAX 8 passenger jets following the crash the previous day of a MAX 8 operated by Ethiopian Air. Last year a plane of the same model operated by Lion Air crashed in Indonesia.
Ethiopia, China and Indonesia have grounded their MAX 8s, and other national airlines are expected to ground their flights.
“We will do our utmost to minimise the impact on our passengers, through re-bookings, optimisation of other aircraft types, and utilisation of our existing flight program,” the airline stated on its website Monday, noting that the airline will reach out to affected passengers.
Norwegian Air had 18 MAX jets in its fleet of 164 aircraft at the end of 2018 and is expected to take delivery of dozens more in coming years, taking the total to more than 70 by the end of 2021, the company has said in recent announcements.
In the next few weeks, Boeing is expected to install fixes on software controls on all MAX 8s which will give pilots more direct control over the planes. In November Boeing issued a bulletin advising airline operators how to address erroneous cockpit readings. It pointed to operators’ need “to address circumstances where there is erroneous input from an AOA sensor,” a Boeing statement said.
The FAA later issued a directive that advised pilots about how to respond to similar problems.