Ryanair Cuts Growth Plans on 737 MAX Delays
Ryanair has trimmed its capacity growth plans for the next 12 months, citing delivery delays on the Boeing 737 MAX as the reason.
The Irish LCC expected to be flying the 737 MAX 200 by now, but the delivery pause caused by the worldwide grounding of all MAX aircraft has pushed the expected entry into service date out to early next year.
Ryanair said it now expects the MAX will return to service before the end of 2019, but as it has ordered the higher density MAX 200 variant, regulatory authorities will need more time for its certification. It is anticipating an additional two months for FAA and EASA to certify.
“Since Ryanair can only take delivery of between six to eight new aircraft each month, we are now planning our summer 2020 schedules based on taking up to 30 B737 MAX aircraft deliveries up to end of May 2020,” the airline’s chief executive Michael O’Leary said.
The number it will receive could rise or fall further depending on when the 737 MAX returns to service. The estimate of 30 by May next year is a reduction from the 58 originally scheduled for delivery prior to the summer 2020 travel season.
O’Leary said the shortfall in deliveries will mean base closures and staff cuts for the winter 2019 and summer 2020 schedules. He said the airline is discussing which bases will suffer short term cuts, and will consult staff and unions on cuts and base closures.
The lower capacity expansion will result in a reduced growth rate, from 7 percent to 3 percent for summer 2020. Full year traffic growth for the year to March 2021 will drop from the previous target of 162 million passengers to around 157 million O’Leary said.