Icelandair Boeing 737 MAX 8 Launch Delayed Indefinitely

Icelandair's first 737 MAX 8 at Boeing Field (Photo: Chuyi Chuang)

The launch of Icelandair’s long-awaited Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft has been delayed indefinitely following a series of delays by the airline this past week. The aircraft was supposed to make its debut performance for the airline on April 6 on the daily flight from Reykjavik to Berlin, however, that flight was switched back to its usual Boeing 757-200 just a few days prior.

The next scheduled flight for the new aircraft, again the roundtrip to Berlin on the Sunday following, was also changed to a Boeing 757-200 over the weekend. That pattern continued and still continues, with even Icelandair’s own website struggling to keep up with the changes, reporting the aircraft still on numerous routes just hours before their departure on some flights during the week.

The aircraft was supposed to start proving runs on the Reykjavik to Berlin route on the European side of Icelandair’s operations from April 8 and begin flying the Reykjavik to Newark route on the North American side of the operation on April 10. However, the flight to Newark was changed back to a Boeing 757-200 just a day before on April 9.

At the time of writing, the 737 MAX 8 is next on the schedule for Icelandair’s Reykjavik to Oslo route on Thursday, April 12, making that flight the new launch flight for the aircraft. However, there is no guarantee and little evidence to show that the flight will actually operate with the aircraft on Thursday as Icelandair is constantly updating the schedule for the aircraft.

Initially, the plan for Icelandair was to use the Boeing 737 MAX 8 solely on the Reykjavik to Berlin route from its launch in April until May 1 when the aircraft would start on the Bergen and Paris routes as well, then open up Dublin and Cleveland later in the month. In the past few weeks, however, the airline decided to temporarily place the aircraft on other routes including Reykjavik to Newark, Stockholm, and Oslo, as reported by Airlineroute.

Icelandair’s Boeing 737 MAX 8 planned offering for the week of April 9. (Photo: GCMap.com)

Additionally, according to Icelandair’s website, the 737 MAX will no longer be opening up the Reykjavik to Dublin route, as was previously the case. The aircraft will, however, continue as planned to open up the Reykjavik to Cleveland route.

The airline received the first of the aircraft type more than a month ago on February 28 at a ceremony at Boeing’s Delivery Center in Washington and is the first of its kind for the Icelandic airline, which operates a fleet of Boeing 757 and 767s on routes from its hub in Iceland to Europe and North America.

The second 737 MAX 8 for the airline was delivered to Reykjavik on Wednesday, with one more expected to be delivered to Icelandair before the year’s end, as part of an order for 16 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9 aircraft. The second aircraft will allow for two simultaneous MAX flights, as will be the case when the airline starts service to Paris and Bergen with the aircraft on May 1. However, with the recent delays involving the first MAX aircraft, it is unclear when the second MAX aircraft will enter service.

This story was updated here

Thomas Pallini

Thomas Pallini

Tom has been flying for as long as he can remember. His first flight memory was on a Song Airlines 757 flying from LaGuardia to Orlando. Back then, he was afraid to fly because he thought you needed to jump off the plane in order to get off. Some years later, Tom is now a seasoned traveler, often flying to places just for the fun of it. Most of the time, he'll never leave the airport on his trips. If he's not at home or at work as a Line Service Technician at Long Island MacArthur Airport, he's off flying somewhere, but only for the day.
Thomas Pallini