Ryanair facing further delays to Boeing 737 MAX delivery

Airline, which operates more than 30 routes out of Liverpool, originally ordered 135 of the planes, now grounded by Boeing following two fatal crashes. Tony McDonough reports

Ryanair originally ordered 135 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft


Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary says the carrier may have to wait until October to take delivery the troubled Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

The airline, which operates more than 30 routes out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, originally ordered 135 of the planes which Mr O’Leary had said would be a “game-changer’ due to its extra capacity and fuel efficiency.

However, the aircraft has been grounded since March last year following  two separate crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia which killed 346 people.

Ryanair had wanted to take delivery of the first of the 737 MAX in time for its 2020 summer season. But the ongoing delay has forced it to cuts its annual passenger forecasts by one million and warn of possible job losses.

In an interview with German magazine Wirtschaftswoche, Mr O’Leary said: “We were meant to have 58 planes by the summer. That went down to 30, then 20, then 10 and the latest is maybe only five. It’s possible we’ll only get the first jets in October 2020.”

On Friday, Ryanair said it had carried 11.2m passengers during December, a rise of 9% on the same month in 2018. The figures include its Austrian subsidiary Lauda. Load factor (percentage of seats filled) was 95% for the month.

In December Ryanair has announced a new route to Eastern Europe from Liverpool John Lennon Airport starting in May 2020. It will operate the twice-weekly service to Zadar in Croatia starting in May. Fights are now available to book in advance up to October 2020.

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