Icelandair (FI, Reykjavik Keflavik) has clarified its position with regards to its cover for the loss of its B737-9 and B737-8 flying programmes for the peak summer season. The carrier currently has five B737-8s and a sole B737-9 parked up, as well as one B737-8 and two B737-9s awaiting delivery.

"In the light of recent news from Boeing on the ongoing process in cooperation with international aviation authorities of returning the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft safely back to service, Icelandair does not expect the MAX in operation within its route network during the high season of next summer," the airline said in a statement.

The airline believes that the ongoing grounding will have minimal impact on its schedules, as its flying programmes for the Summer 2020 season were "set up with the aim to minimise the impact of a possible further delay in the lifting of the MAX suspension." The airline has already made plans to lease three B737-800s this summer and will keep more of its 23-strong B757-200 fleet flying than it had originally planned this year. The leased aircraft will be crewed by Icelandair staff.

As a result of this forward schedule planning, Icelandair believes that the financial impact of the continued B737 MAX grounding will be lower than in 2019, as the lease agreements were made further in advance and therefore on better terms. With these plans now made, the airline expects to carry the same number of passengers in 2020 as it did in 2019.

The Icelandair Group has reached two interim agreements with Boeing regarding compensation for the airline's financial loss resulting from the MAX grounding. Continued discussions with the US manufacturer regarding further compensation are ongoing.