Ryanair closing bases over Boeing 737 MAX crisis

by Kim Boateng Posted on July 16th, 2019

London: Ryanair said Tuesday it will close some of its bases because of problems with Boeing’s crisis-hit 737 MAX jet, which has been grounded after two fatal accidents.

The Irish no-frills airline said in a statement that it expected to take delivery of just 30 Boeing 737 MAX 200 jets by the end of May 2020, instead of the 58 that it originally expected for its summer schedule.

The jets are a variant of the MAX aircraft and therefore need certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), it added.

“This shortfall in aircraft deliveries will necessitate some base cuts and closures for summer 2020, but also for the winter 2019 schedule,” Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said in the statement.

“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,” O’Leary noted.

“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.”

The Dublin-based group did not however specify which bases were at risk, nor did it signal any job cuts.

– Forecasts slashed –

As a result, however, Ryanair also slashed its summer growth rate from seven percent to three percent.

And it cut its full-year 2020/2021 passenger traffic growth forecast to 157 million, compared with prior guidance of 162 million.

Ryanair now hopes to take delivery of its first MAX 200 jet some time between January and February 2020.

Boeing’s global fleet of 737 MAX planes has been grounded since mid-March following the second of two catastrophic accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia which killed 346 people.

The US aviation giant has developed a software upgrade to the 737 MAX after problems with a flight handling system were tied to the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes. But the jet has still not been cleared by regulators to resume flying.

Ryanair, which operates a fleet of more than 450 Boeing 737-800 series aircraft, on Tuesday stressed its commitment to the MAX plane.

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