Reykjavik, Iceland - Icelandair will store its Boeing 737 MAX planes in France. The planes will leave the country this week.
Icelandair will fly its Boeing 737 MAXs to Toulouse, France for storage. The airline said the decision was taken to protect the planes from tear and wear that could form due to the harsh weather conditions in the country during winter season.
The four MAX 8 and one MAX 9 jet of the Icelandic carrier will be ferried to Toulouse with special permission guaranteed by the European Aviation Safety Agency.
The irony here is that Toulouse is the production center of the rival Airbus.
Last week, Boeing accepted to help Icelandair cover the expenses of its 737 MAXs. To this end, Boeing will pay the European carrier an undisclosed amount.
Icelandair said the ongoing grounding of the aircraft has cost the airline around $140 million so far.
We need to fly with the wing flaps out, as little as possible. We also need to go at a lower speed at a lower altitude than usual. Under such conditions, a crash like those that occurred in Ethiopia and Indonesia is just not possible,
Þórarinn Hjálmarsson told local media, one of the four pilots assigned to this task.
The flights will take two hours longer than usual since the planes are not allowed to fly above 20,000 feet.
The 737 MAXs are globally grounded after two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. Boeing has been working a flight-control software update for a while to fix the aircraft's problematic stall-prevention system known as MCAS.
The MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) is pointed out as the cause of both crashes that killed 346 people.
Although Boeing assumes the 737 MAX will be allowed to return to service in the fourth quarter after regulatory approvals, many airlines dropped the plane from their 2019 schedules and began to store their MAXs at convenient places.
Singapore's low-cost SilkAir sent its first Boeing 737 MAX 8 to Alice Springs in Australia on September 30. The remaining five planes will be ferried to the Australian city for storage in the coming days.