Norwegian Air, flying high in recent years, ended a challenging past week with an accident in Tromsø, when one of its jets ran off the runway at low speed prior to takeoff. No one was hurt, but passengers reportedly had to sit on the disabled aircraft for nearly 90 minutes until they were allowed to disembark.
The Bodø-bound Boeing 737 aircraft was loaded and taxiing towards take-off when it slid off the runway in what one passenger described to Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) as slippery conditions. The wheel under the nose of the jet along with one of its main wheels got stuck in wet ground off the paved portion of the taxiway.
“It was a bit scary but it could have been worse,” passenger Kari Rindahl Endresen told NRK. Passengers needed to wait until Norwegian could reschedule them on later flights. The accident didn’t disrupt other traffic at Tromsø’s airport and Åsa Larsson of Norwegian called it “very undramatic,” adding that all passengers would be taken care of.
Norwegian earlier this week faced the grounding of many Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” jets similar to those the airline has ordered to launch its upcoming global expansion to Bangkok and New York. Norwegian officials brushed off concerns that the problems would delay the launch, saying it was confident its jets would be delivered on time in April and ready for service in time for the first flight to New York on May 30.
Norwegian was also told, however, that the government won’t back a change in the law that would allow Norwegian to hire Asian crews at lower Asian pay levels on its new long-haul routes. That may prompt Norwegian to re-register the jets in another country.