LCC Norwegian is delaying the potential sale of six Boeing 737-800 aircraft and preparing to wet-lease capacity to make up the shortfall created by the grounding of the 737 MAX.

Aviation authorities around the world grounded the MAX fleet following two fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. In Europe, Norwegian, which has a fleet of 18 MAXs, is the most affected by the ban, and the airline said March 25 it was taking “precautionary measures to make sure the passengers reach their destination going forward.”

“In addition to continuing combining flights and reallocating aircraft, the company has decided to delay potential sales of six Boeing 737-800 aircraft and use available 787 capacity on high-volume routes, which will add flexibility. The company is further preparing to wet-lease aircraft to fill the remaining capacity gap,” the carrier said.

Norwegian has said it is entering a period of slower growth, including cost-cutting and aircraft sales, amid concerns from industry analysts that the carrier’s rapid growth meant it has over-extended itself.

To help maintain capacity during the MAX groundings, Norwegian said it is “combining flights and reallocating aircraft within its own network, keeping the number of cancellations at a minimum and minimizing the impact on customers.”

Norwegian added that it has more than 110 Boeing 737–800 aircraft in its fleet, which are unaffected by the suspension, as well as some available capacity in its 787 fleet that has been used on several high-volume routes.

“The schedule changes have been concentrated to high-frequency routes, minimizing both the economic impact and the disruption for passengers. Affected passengers have been transferred to other flights, but are not eligible for standard EU compensation,” Norwegian said.

In a video posted on Twitter March 13, Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said the airline would seek compensation from Boeing over the MAX groundings. “It is quite obvious that we will not take the cost related to the new aircraft that we have to park temporarily. We will send this bill to those who produce this aircraft,” he said.

In the March 25 statement, Norwegian said it had a good dialogue with Boeing and was confident about reaching a constructive agreement.

Helen Massy-Beresford, helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk