(Reuters) – Planemakers Airbus and Boeing are bracing for hefty jet order cancellations from troubled Norwegian Air amid restructuring proceedings, industry sources said.
Norwegian last year won protection from bankruptcy in both Norway and Ireland, where most of its assets are registered, and is aiming to emerge with fewer aircraft and less debt.
The Irish High Court this week is hearing arguments concerning the repudiation of some of Norwegian’s liabilities including aircraft leases.
“There is a hearing ongoing and we can’t comment until that is over,” a Norwegian spokesman said.
Airbus declined to comment. Boeing was not immediately available for comment.
Norwegian has 88 A320neo-family narrow-body jets on order from Airbus, according to the manufacturer.
The airline said last June it had cancelled orders for 97 Boeing jets and would claim compensation for the grounding of the 737 MAX and for 787 Dreamliner engine troubles.
However, the orders for 5 Dreamliners and 92 MAX remain posted on the Boeing website, indicating the U.S. planemaker has until now asserted its rights on the contract.
Boeing has received significant cancellations of the 737 MAX after the plane was grounded for almost two years in the wake of two fatal crashes.
Planemakers have not so far faced sizeable cancellations directly related to the coronavirus crisis as deliveries were cushioned by deposits held on account, industry sources say.
But pressure is growing on jet order books as the pandemic extends into a second year.
Airbus is meanwhile locked in tough negotiations with another major budget carrier, Malaysia’s AirAsia.
Several sources said discussions focused on whether AirAsia, one of Airbus’ largest customers with some 400 planes on order across the group, could not only delay deliveries but also obtain a partial return of deposits, seen as a rare move.
Airbus and AirAsia have repeatedly declined comment on aircraft negotiations.
Reporting by Tim Hepher, Victoria Klesty, Conor Humphries and Liz Lee. Editng by Mark Potter