Ryanair said it expects Boeing 737 Max delivery delays to slow capacity growth for the winter 2019 and summer 2020 seasons.
The Irish low-cost carrier’s chief executive officer, Michael O’Leary said the airline remains committed to the B737 Max aircraft, and now expects that it will return to flying service before the end of 2019, although the return remains uncertain.
He said: “Boeing is hoping that a certification package will be submitted to regulators by September with a return to service shortly thereafter. We believe it would be prudent to plan for that date to slip by some months, possibly as late as December.
“As Ryanair have ordered the Boeing Max 200s, which are a variant of the Max aircraft, these need to be separately certified by the FAA and EASA. Ryanair expects that the Max 200 will be approved for flight services within 2 months of the Max return to service.”
O’Leary said Ryanair hopes to receive its first Max 200 aircraft sometime between January and February 2020. Since Ryanair can only take delivery of between six to eight new aircraft each month, it is now planning its summer 2020 schedules based on taking up to 30 B737 Max aircraft deliveries up to end of May 2020.
“This is less than the 58 MAX aircraft Boeing originally scheduled to deliver for our summer 2020 schedule. This number could rise, or fall further, depending on when the B737 MAX actually returns to flight service,” he said.
O’Leary added: “For planning purposes, Ryanair will now revise its summer 2020 schedule based on 30 incremental aircraft, rather than 58. This will cut Ryanair’s summer 2020 growth rate from 7% to 3% and means full year traffic growth for the year to March 2021 will be cut from 162m guests to approx. 157m.
“This shortfall in aircraft deliveries will necessitate some base cuts and closures for summer 2020, but also for the winter 2019 schedule. We are starting a series of discussions with our airports to determine which of Ryanair’s underperforming or loss-making bases should suffer these short term cuts and/or closures from November 2019.
“We will also be consulting with our people and our unions in planning and implementing these base cuts and closures, which are directly caused by the B737 Max delivery delays to the B737 Max program.
“Ryanair will continue to work with Boeing and EASA to recover these delivery delays during the winter of 2020, so that we can restore our growth to normal levels in summer 2021.”