Boeing 737 aircraft stuck in Iran creates headaches for Norwegian airline

The repair work on the Boeing 737 aircraft has encountered problems because international sanctions bar the airline from sending spare parts to Iran. (AFP)
Updated 04 January 2019

Boeing 737 aircraft stuck in Iran creates headaches for Norwegian airline

  • The aircraft was en route from Dubai to Oslo with 192 passengers and crew members on board when it carried out a ‘safety landing’
  • The Boeing 737 Max has been stuck on Iranian soil where the airline’s mechanics are trying to repair it

OSLO: Norwegian Air Shuttle said Friday one of its Boeing 737s has been stuck in Iran for three weeks after an unscheduled landing due to engine problems, as US restrictions reportedly create headaches for the airline and possibly passengers.
The aircraft was en route from Dubai to Oslo with 192 passengers and crew members on board when it carried out a “safety landing” in Shiraz in southwestern Iran because of engine trouble on December 14, a Norwegian Air Shuttle spokesman, Andreas Hjornholm, said.
While passengers were able to fly on to Oslo the following day on another aircraft, the Boeing 737 Max has been stuck on Iranian soil where the airline’s mechanics are trying to repair it, Hjornholm said.
According to specialized sites such as www.airlive.net, the repair work has encountered problems because international sanctions bar the airline from sending spare parts to Iran.
With the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, the Trump administration decided to reimpose sanctions on Tehran.
Norwegian Air Shuttle refused to comment on those reports.
“I can only say that we are working with several options to get the plane back on the wings, and right now we are waiting for our technicians to be able to service the plane and to get it working,” Hjornholm said.
The incident has fueled jokes on social media.
“Iran has become a Bermuda Triangle that feeds on planes,” one Iranian Twitter user wrote.
It could also pose problems for the plane’s passengers and crew members if they want to travel to the US in future.
Since 2015, anyone who has traveled to seven countries considered at risk (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) since March 2011 is excluded from the US visa waiver program applied to most Europeans.
According to Hjornholm, the passengers and crew on the Dubai-Oslo flight officially entered Iran and stayed overnight at a hotel on December 14-15.
The US embassy in Oslo was not available for comment.
Last year, former NATO secretary general Javier Solana was refused entry to the US because he had visited Iran for the inauguration ceremony of President Hassan Rouhani in 2013.


Yemen president dismisses army commander after battlefield setbacks

Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, President of Yemen. (AP)
Updated 19 min 57 sec ago

Yemen president dismisses army commander after battlefield setbacks

  • Dozens of Houthis and loyalist forces, including commanders, have been killed since the Marib attack

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has dismissed an army general following a series of military setbacks in Nehim district, near Houthi-held Sanaa.
The official Saba News agency reported on Monday that Hadi had appointed Maj. Gen. Ahmad Hassan Jebran as the commander of the 7th Military Region, replacing Maj. Gen. Mohsen Al-Khubi.
Al-Khubi has been commanding government forces in Nehim and neighboring battlefields since August 2018. The Nehim battlefield has endured a military stalemate as government forces could not make major gains.
The dismissal comes amid reports that the Iranian-backed Houthis have seized control of Fardhat Nehim military base, a large swathe of the mountainous district and a strategic road that links Marib city with the northern province of Jawf.
The rebels expanded in Nehim following heavy clashes with government forces, backed by air support from Saudi-led coalition warplanes.
Last week, Yemen’s minister of defense said that army troops carried out a “tactical retreat” in Nehim to allow forces to regroup before pushing back into the battlefield. Fighting in Nehim escalated on Jan. 19, a day after a Houthi missile and drone attack killed more than 110 soldiers and civilians at a military base mosque in the city of Marib.
The attack prompted senior government officials to threaten to pull out of the Stockholm Agreement, which largely ended hostilities in the western province of Hodeida. Dozens of Houthis and loyalist forces, including commanders, have been killed since the Marib attack.

HIGHLIGHT

The dismissal comes amid reports that the Houthis have seized control of Fardhat Nehim military base.

Saba reported on Monday that Hadi telephoned the minister of defense and the governors of Marib, Jawf and Sana’a, hailing “victories” on the battlefields and ordering his forces to escalate military activities until they purged the Houthis from areas under their control.
Fighting also continued in Abyan’s Lawder district when the Houthis attacked government forces.
Similar clashes were also reported in Jawf, Marib’s Serwah and Taiz. UN envoy to Yemen urges recommitment to Stockholm Agreement
The UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, has urged the Houthis and the internationally recognized government to adhere to the Stockholm Agreement and to stop hostilities on the battlefields as the Yemeni government reiterated threats to pull out of the deal.
“The parties in Yemen must de-escalate violence and renew their commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The Yemeni people deserve better than a life of perpetual war,” he said on Tuesday, urging both sides to commit to keeping Hodeida safe and releasing detainees.
“More than a year ago in Stockholm, the parties promised the Yemeni people to keep Hodeida safe, to use port revenues to pay salaries and to return detainees to their loved ones. They must fulfill these promises and build a conducive environment for the peace process,” he added.
Yemeni government officials argue that the Houthis exploited a cessation of fighting in Hodeida to strengthen their forces in Nehim and Taiz.