Thursday, January 10, 2019
When a technical error forced a Norwegian Air jet to land at Shiraz Airport in Iran last month, the Boeing 737 touched down in uncharted territory. The airline, known for cheap long-haul flights from Europe, does not have a base in Iran. It had never flown there before. And nearly a month after it left Dubai, the brand-new American-made jet, delivered to Norwegian Air only in October, was still sitting in Shiraz.
The jet appeared to be caught up in United States sanctions on Tehran's nuclear program that prohibit civilian aircraft sales, including services and parts. Those came into force again last year after President Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal.
A technical error in one of the engines prompted the landing on Dec. 14, a spokesman for Norwegian Air said by phone on Tuesday, and the 186 passengers and six crew members on board were unharmed. They spent the night in Iran and flew to Oslo the next day.
But things are more complicated for the plane. The spokesman said that Norwegian Air had never before dealt with regulations on the ground in Iran, and that the paperwork for anything from getting engineers to spare parts was taking longer than usual.
The export restrictions apply to any company that wants to sell or resell goods to Iran that contain more than 10 percent aviation parts or technology from the United States.
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