Norwegian Flying 787-9 To New York Stewart Airport (737 MAX Replacement)

Norwegian sure has had a tough road when it comes to their transatlantic fleet choices:

  • Norwegian primarily uses the 787-9 for their transatlantic flights, and over the past year they’ve had to ground many of those due to engine issues, meaning they’ve had to lease planes from other airlines
  • Norwegian also uses the 737 MAX 8 for select transatlantic flights, and those planes are now grounded


Norwegian 787

The airline can’t seem to catch a break, especially as they recently reorganized, in an effort to become profitable. Prior to that there were rumors of them going out of business.

Norwegian operates their Boeing 737 MAX 8 on flights to select destinations from New York Stewart and Providence. Both airports have year-round service to Dublin, for example. Obviously these flights are no longer possible, though Norwegian has a creative solution.

In an effort to minimize the inconvenience of the 737 MAX suspension, Norwegian will operate a 787-9 between New York Stewart and Dublin Airport on a daily basis for the foreseeable future.

Passengers scheduled to depart from Providence will be bussed to Stewart Airport. That’s obviously not ideal, as that’s a ride of 186 miles, and with current traffic conditions it will take over three hours (and I imagine with a bus it takes even longer), but the airline is doing what they can.

The Boeing 787-9 has a capacity of 338 seats, including 282 economy seats and 56 premium economy seats. Meanwhile the 737 MAX has a capacity of 189 seats. So the 787-9’s capacity is 40 seats less than the combined capacity of two 737 MAX 8s.


Norwegian’s 787-9 Premium cabin

Norwegian operates some other transatlantic flights using the 737 MAX 8, including from Stewart to Edinburgh. Oddly these flights continue to show for sale, and the airline is even selling seats on Friday’s Stewart to Edinburgh flight.

In many ways this is an upgrade for those who were booked from Stewart, while for those booked from Providence, having to pass to Stewart will be a pain. Kudos to Norwegian for doing what they can. They just can’t seem to catch a break.

Here’s a message from Norwegian’s CEO regarding this situation:

During this he says:

“Many have asked questions about how this affects our financial situation. It is quite obvious that we will not take the course related to the new aircraft that we have to park temporarily. We will send this bill to those who produce this aircraft.”

I’ll be curious to see how this plays out…

Comments

  1. “The Boeing 787-9 has a capacity of 338 seats, including 282 economy seats and 56 premium economy seats. Meanwhile the 737 MAX has a capacity of 189 seats. So the 787-9’s capacity is 40 seats less than the combined capacity of two 737 MAX 8s.” 787-9’s capacity is 40 seats less? My math doesn’t add up or I’m just confused?

  2. I’m booked on their MAX 8 service from SWF to SNN in the second week of May. I suspect they’ll probably be back in service by then, but honestly, I’d much prefer to have the Dreamliner, even if it means going via Dublin rather than Shannon.

  3. They should have purchased the A321LR and the A350. Maybe it’s time to get rid of their Boeing fleet. They don’t have the luck with them. Heck, the A330NEO is available too.

  4. @Ricardo Tamirez

    Norwegian has 30 A321LR on order, deliveries beginning later this year.

    Their fleet have been too small for more than one widebody so far, something makes me think that Mr Kjos love affair with Boeing might be wearing a bit thin right about now.

    So who knows what the future will bring, that said B777x can be flown by B787 pilots on the same type rating. Then again the B777x might just be too much plane for them.

  5. Wouldn’t it just be easier to change the flight times from Providence and have the 787 make a brief stop in Providence, instead of having the Providence passengers have to spend 3+hours on a bus?

  6. @CraigTPA

    Aside from cost there is also immigration/customs, not sure how this would be handled on flight from one US to another US airport.

    Buses are probable easier to arrange short term, if this end up taking many months it might end up being different.

    Simply put hiring buses requires a lot less paperwork and gets passengers underway now.

  7. @lucky

    “It is quite obvious that we will not take the course related to the new aircraft that we have to park temporarily. We will send this bill to those who produce this aircraft.”

    I’m pretty sure he says “cost” with an accent rather than “course.”

  8. US airlines have the right to make stops in any EU country on the way to any other EU country, but EU airlines do not have the right to operate fifth freedom flights within the US so sadly this is the best alternative.

  9. Norwegian should play it smart and fly this routing if they’re obliged to use 787: SWF-PVD-DUB instead of bus PVD passengers to SWF. Singapore Airlines fly SIN-SYD-CBR-SIN circle route with a 777-300ER despite CBR and SYD is only 145 miles apart.

  10. MAX 8 still bookable from ORK. I’d expect 789 service from SNN too and ORK originating pax to be bused to SNN.

  11. @PeterD
    I wouldn’t count on the MAX8 being in service by May. 787’s were grounded for three months after the much less serious lithium battery fiasco. MAX 8 problems impact critical flights systems that will need to be recertified after test flights by both by the FAA and EASA.

  12. If they weren’t to sell tickets PVD-SWF, I don’t believe that they would run afoul of the fifth-freedom rules by operating the flight in a circular fashion. Likewise, border control / customs should be able to be managed.

    But as somebody else mentioned, there is probably an order of magnitude higher in logistics in operating a circular flight than in contracting buses, so this is a better short-term fix, while if this drags on it might be a longer-term fix.

  13. I am booked on Norwegian from SWF to Edinburgh and back to SWF via Dublin at the end of March/beginning April. I called to cancel and they said all of my flights were On Time and had the Max 8 as the aircraft. So crazy – they couldn’t say anything about the plane or lack of plane. Nor would they let me cancel. So while they say they’re switching the Dublin bound planes, no info on the Edinburgh route (which is ending soon anyway)…….

  14. I called about my flight in April from Snn to Stewart and they say it’s on time , I wish I could cancel , Surely three weeks out they should know
    What’s happening.

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