“It’s close to a mutiny situation,” Paal-Gunnar Mathisen, one of the stranded passengers, told NRK after the airline told him of yet another delay. “We must have received six or seven messages about different planned departure times. Today we actually had some hope, because we got a replacement aeroplane. Then this came, after everything.”
A replacement finally took off on Tuesday afternoon, after midnight Oslo time and 70 hours after its scheduled departure, taking the passengers to Reykjavik, Iceland, where passengers were transferred to one of Norwegian’s flights.
“We totally understand that our passengers are angry,” Norwegian press spokesperson Charlotte Holmbergh Jacobsson of told NRK-
In December 2013 and the first half of last year, Norwegian suffered repeated delays as it attempted to pioneer bringing the budget concept to long-haul flights, starting routes between Norway and Thailand, and Norway and the US.
Norwegian struggled partly because the planes were so new that Boeing had yet to identify common faults and learn to fix them quickly, and partly because with just five Dreamliners, Norwegian lacks either backup aircraft in the US and Thailand, or sufficient staff on the ground to easily solve problems.
It was hoped that these issues could be ironed out with time. The fact that a year on, the airline is still facing problems raises the possibility that the problems could be more deep-rooted.