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Photo: Icelandair

Icelandair lays off 24 MAX pilots

The global flight ban on the Boeing 737 MAX has now cost 24 pilots their jobs at Icelandair.

Icelandair has dismissed a number of pilots and postponed the appointment of an additional number of them, due to the ongoing grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX.

The 24 pilots were hired last autumn and had already begun to fly the company’s eight Boeing 737 MAX when the aircraft received a global flight ban in March.

In addition, Icelandair has postponed the appointment of another 21 pilots who had already begun training on the MAX aircraft.

“This decision was made as it is anticipated that the suspension of the 737 MAX aircraft will last longer than previously expected and because we have already made changes to our flight plans until September 15 to reflect this,” a spokesman for Icelandair told Air Transport World.

However, the airline said it hoped to be able to reinstate the pilots as soon as the company has a better overview of how the MAX controversy will develop.

Continuing uncertainty
Just as Icelandair has rescheduled its flight plans and decided to keep the MAX out of the programme until mid-September, in recent weeks many airlines have needed to respond to the continuing uncertainty about when the ban will be lifted.

At the recently completed IATA conference in Seoul, several airlines discussed their attitudes towards the MAX.

For example, Emirates chief executive Tim Clark said he would be surprised if the aircraft made it back into the air by Christmas due to the continuing uncertainty and lack of cooperation between various civil aviation authorities across the world.

Emirates does not operate any B737 MAX aircraft, but its low-cost subsidiary Flydubai is the world’s second largest MAX customer with orders totalling 236 MAX 8, 9 and 10, of which 14 have already been delivered.

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