Icelandair Group’s pessimism over the Boeing 737 Max’s return to service has deepened, with the company disclosing that it does not expect to re-introduce the twinjet before May next year.

The company says the delay will have “minimum impact” on Icelandair’s flight schedule and its passengers, because the carrier has been coping without the Max for several months since the type was grounded in March.

Icelandair will retain more Boeing 757s in its fleet over the course of 2020 than it had originally planned, in order to make up for the shortfall in Max capacity.

It is also leasing a pair of 737-800s, to support its operations from next spring, and is “working on” leasing a third aircraft, the carrier states.

Icelandair Group is continuing discussions with Boeing over compensation for financial losses caused by the Max delays.

It adds that it will continue to monitor developments on the “extensive process” by air transport authorities to ensure that the 737 Max can be safely re-introduced.

Icelandair has six 737 Max jets, a mix of Max 8s and 9s, which have been parked. The airline also has several more on order.