Icelandair lays off 737 MAX pilots

Reykjavik, Iceland - Icelandair is dismissing 24 Boeing 737 MAX pilots due to the ongoing grounding of the aircraft since March 13, after the second fatal crash in Ethiopia.

The Icelandic carrier decided to lay off 24 Boeing 737 MAX pilots and suspend the recruitment of 21 others. The decision was taken due to uncertainty about the aircraft's return to service.

The airline has four 737 MAX 8 and one 737 MAX 9 in the fleet that are currently grounded. Eleven more (five 737 MAX 8, six 737 MAX 9) are on order with the American aircraft manufacturer.

"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 September 15, 2019, to reflect that,” an Icelandair spokesperson said.

Icelandic flag carrier is cureently in talks with Boeing for compensation. The deliveries of the 11 737 MAX on order is expected to continue as it was previously planned. The airline has recently leased four Boeing 757-200 and 767-300ER for the summer season.

Icelandair is an all-Boeing operator. Its current fleet consists of Boeing 757s, 767s and 737 MAXs. The airline is also studying A321neo to switch to an all-Airbus fleet.

Icelandair considers switching to an all-Airbus fleet

Icelandair was in the process of replacing its aging 757’s (20 years on average) with the Boeing 737 MAXs before the two 737 MAX 8 crashes that killed 346 people.