A Norwegian Air flight that was supposed to take off from Orlando, Florida Saturday night and land in Oslo on Sunday finally arrived on Tuesday, two days behind schedule and with 221 exhausted passengers on board. The ill-fated flight #7052 landed at 9:46am after an extraordinary chain of events that began with more trouble for Norwegian’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
“We apologize for the problems this has caused for Norwegian and for the company’s passengers,” a spokesman for Boeing, Daniel Mosely, told news bureau NTB. Norwegian, weary of taking the blame for more than a year of trouble with the Boeing aircraft used on its new intercontinental service, is now clearly passing some of it on to Boeing.
Maintenance issues, stormy weather
The latest round of trouble involving Norwegian’s Oslo-Orlando route began with some maintenance work on one of the Boeing 787’s pumps, according to Mosely. A hose connected to the pump burst, and a new hose had to be flown in from Boeing’s maintenance base in London.
That took much more time than expected, and Norwegian was unable to hire in replacement aircraft to fly its stranded passengers to Oslo. They ended up being sent to local motels, some of which, passengers told state broadcaster NRK, were of poor standard and infested with cockroaches.
Their unexpected overnight stay in Orlando extended to two nights because of delays in getting the replacement parts to Florida. Then, when the aircraft was finally repaired and ready to be towed to the gate, the airport’s towing vehicle broke down. As if that wasn’t enough, bad weather set in and the airport temporarily closed.
‘Don’t know what to believe’
“Now we’ve waited more than 40 hours,” Ole Jonny Koster told NRK around 5pm local time (11pm in Oslo). The flight had been scheduled to leave at 2pm, then 3pm, then 4pm. “We can see the aircraft on the tarmac, so we hope we can leave soon. We don’t know what to believe anymore.”
Norwegian’s information chief, Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen, told NTB that “we understand very well that they (the passengers) are frustrated. There are very many unfortunate things that have happened at the same time.”
The flight finally took off at 6:43pm Florida time, and landed at Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen at 9:46am Tuesday, more than 44 hours late.