Canadian Flair Airlines will become the new operator.
The first four of eleven manufactured Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in Smartwings livery, which are still out of operation, have found a new operator. Two of the aircraft now fly in Canadian low-cost carrier Flair Airlines livery.
Specifically, OK-SWJ now operates with Flair with registration C-FLUT. A photo of another aircraft – originally manufactured for Smartwings in May 2019 with registration OK-SWL – has appeared on the Twitter account of BFI Watch, which monitors traffic at Seattle’s Boeing Field Airport. It flew here from San Antonio, Texas, where it had been stored for a long time. OK-SWI and OK-SWR will also be transferred to Flair.
Another new 737-8 for @FlairAirlines . Yes you read it right, this Smartwings NTU will join the Canadian ULCC once delivered and repainted. She came back from storage at SKF today as BOE392. 43565/7520 pic.twitter.com/qJG0L7vbxc
— BFI Watch (@bfi_watch_ca350) July 1, 2022
According to Planespotters.net, OK-SWL is owned by an unknown leasing company and will now carry the registration C-FLQO. Flair Airlines have worked with Smartwings in the past, leasing Boeing 737-800s from them, including crews. The carrier is owned by 777 Partners leasing company.
Having originally ordered 39 aircraft, Smartwings have taken only seven 737 MAX 8 aircraft from Boeing. Due to the forced grounding of the planes after two tragic accidents, Smartwings decided to reduce the order and filed a lawsuit against Boeing. A total of eighteen machines were produced in the US for Smartwings, according to Flightradar24.com.
Lawsuit in U.S.
Smartwings is suing U.S. manufacturer Boeing in the U.S. for damages caused by the two-year grounding of 737 MAX aircraft, while seeking a refund of deposits paid. Smartwings claims in the lawsuit that by introducing the problematic MCAS control system, Boeing misled not only the airline but relevant regulators as well. Smartwings canceled the contract to purchase additional aircraft, suing the manufacturer for the return of the USD 833,000 deposit on two aircraft at the same time.
Smartwings CEO Jiri Simane has previously said that the airline is seeking around CZK 2.5 billion in damages from Boeing. These are direct damages caused, for example, by the additional costs of leasing other aircraft; the amount does not include the loss of markets. The grounding has complicated the carrier’s situation especially in 2019, when air traffic was at its peak and the 737 MAX was supposed to be one of the drivers of Smartwings’ growth. The airline has declined to comment on intended purchases.
Edited and translated by Lucie Trávníčková.