Recently I wrote about how a Norwegian 737 MAX was operating a flight from Dubai to Oslo.
It suffered a serious engine problem (despite the aircraft being only a few months old), and was forced to divert to Shiraz, Iran.
What made this interesting (and complicated) was the diplomatic situation if spare engine parts were needed to be sent to fix the aircraft from the US or Europe. This is because there are strict trade sanctions in place between these countries and Iran.
It raised several questions about what would happen to this aircraft, and several readers debated in the comments of my earlier article about the ease or difficulty of fixing this plane. Some believed it would not be a problem, and that either the sanctions did not apply to this situation, or if they did, an exception would be made because of the circumstances.
Reader Mark Frizzell yesterday posted the following comment:
Any update? Was the plane recovered from Iran?
This was a great reminder to see what has happened with the aircraft, more than two weeks after the original diversion.
So what did happen?
All passengers travelled to Oslo on a replacement aircraft that was sent from Oslo to Shiraz.
But Flightradar24 is showing the faulty 737 MAX aircraft, LN-BKE, is still on the ground in Shiraz.
The Airliners forum believes that the engine suffered an ‘oil-associated fault,’ and the Norwegian engineers who were originally sent to Shiraz to repair the plane were unable to do so.
As a result a replacement engine needs to be sourced. The additional paperwork/red tape, because of the sanctions restrictions, are believed to be holding up the process.
I’ll keep an eye on what happens here — I thought they may have tried to fly the damaged aircraft (empty) to a neighbouring country, where it might be easier to source replacement parts, but that doesn’t appear to have happened.
Perhaps Norwegian didn’t think the faulty engine would be so difficult to replace?