Continuing delays to the delivery of Boeing 737 Max aircraft means the Irish low-cost carrier will have to cut capacity from its summer 2020 schedule. Tony McDonough reports
Ryanair is cutting its annual passengers numbers forecast by 1m due to ongoing delays to deliveries of the troubled Boeing 737 Max aircraft. The low-cost carrier had hoped the new plane would be a “game-changer” for its operations.
The airline which operates more than 30 routes out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, had originally ordered 60 of the aircraft. However, Boeing grounded the Max in March this year following two separate crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia which killed 336 people.
The plane offers capacity and fuel efficiency improvements for Ryanair and the Dublin-based company had said in its half-year results statement at the beginning of November that it was hoping to take delivery of 20 aircraft by March.
However, that number has now been revised down to 10 which means it will have to cut capacity from its summer 2020 schedule. It had originally expected to carry 157m passengers in the year to the end of March 2021 but this has now been revised down to 156m passengers.
This means the closure of two more bases – Nuremberg and Stockholm Skavst – and capacity cuts at other bases which will lead to an unspecified number of job losses.
Ryanair executive Eddie Wilson said: “We regret these two further base closures and minor capacity cuts at other bases which are solely due to further delivery delays to our Boeing MAX aircraft.
“We are continuing to work with Boeing, our people, our unions and our affected airports to minimise these capacity cuts and job losses.”
In a separate announcement, Ryanair said it had carried 11m passengers in November – a 6% rise on the same month in 2018 – with more than 93% of its 60,000 flights during the month arriving on time.