Norwegian overcomes hitches on 787 fleet

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Scandinavian budget carrier Norwegian has put both of its Boeing 787s back into service after separate technical problems affecting the jets forced the carrier to wet-lease Airbus A340s.

Two A340s were brought in last week as Norwegian’s second 787, newly delivered, indicated a brake malfunction which kept the aircraft grounded at Stockholm for several days.

The aircraft (EI-LNB) arrived in Stockholm, via a scheduled stop in Dublin, early on 30 August. But Norwegian says it was unable to perform a single revenue flight with the twinjet before the problem emerged.

“It had to do with an indication of malfunctioning brakes,” says a spokesman for the airline, adding that cockpit instrumentation showed “something wasn’t working”.

“We’re not very satisfied,” he adds. “When you have a new aircraft you expect it to work.”

Portuguese operator HiFly – which had previously stepped in to help Norwegian after its 787 deliveries slipped – supplied a pair of A340s to the carrier to maintain its long-haul network.

While Norwegian was able to put the second 787 into service on 6 September, its first 787 also encountered a technical problem at Oslo.

The spokesman says the aircraft (EI-LNA) would not accept sufficient electrical power and that, after a component change, the jet was still indicating a problem.

But this issue has also been resolved, he adds, and the aircraft is returning to service today.

Norwegian took delivery of its first 787 in the last week of June. Despite the recent setback the spokesman praises the aircraft’s performance, saying it has “performed beautifully”.

“This is the first real hiccup,” he says.

Norwegian is still using one of the leased A340s to operate its Bangkok service, but expects to return it shortly. The airline is using the 787 to break into long-haul operations and has just confirmed several new transatlantic destinations.