Norwegian Air Shuttle (NAS) plans to sell five Boeing 737-800s to China Aircraft Leasing, which will help the company to boost its liquid assets by 50 million dollars. NAS will transfer the planes to a Hong Kong-based recycling and asset management entity at the end of 2019 and in the first quarter of 2020.
The lowcoster intended to sell the aircraft at the beginning of this year, but following the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 in Ethiopia and the subsequent grounding of the 737 Max fleet the sale was abandoned.
The delay proved to be very painful for the company – after it renewed its fleet NAS ended up with a debt amounting to more than 170 million dollars. The agreement with China Aircraft Leasing will afford Norwegian Air Shuttle liquidity of $50 million after it repays its outstanding debt.
The sale is in line with the company’s continued strategy of capitalising on the scale built up over the last few years and the changed focus from growth to profitability”, said a spokesperson for the Norwegian Air Shuttle.
Airlines across the world suspended flights of 737 MAX after two tragic incidents in Ethiopia and Indonesia, which left 346 people dead. The subesquent investigation revealed that a glitch in the aircraft’s software was responsible for the tragedies. Boeing, one of the world’s largest planemakers said it hoped the modified version of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System would be available by the end of this year.