Airlines 737 MAX 200 delays slow Ryanair growth

Low-cost carrier Ryanair has released, that it expects the delays of the Boeing 737 MAX 200 to slow down the capacity growth of the airline.

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In a statement, Ryanair updated its investors on the current situation with the 737 MAX deliveries during Winter 2019 and Summer 2020. Initially, the low-cost carrier expected to take delivery of the first MAX aircraft this summer.

After the fatal crashes of two 737 MAX aircraft, Boeing stopped deliveries, meaning that Ryanair was not able to take up its first MAX 200. Now, the airline hopes to receive the first MAX in January or February 2020.

Ryanair is allowed to only take delivery of 6 to 8 aircraft each month. This results in the carrier to re-schedule the summer 2020 deliveries. Up to end of May 2020, Ryanair seeks to have a fleet of 30 B737 MAX aircraft. This would be 58 aircraft less than initially planned at that time.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said: “Ryanair remains committed to the B737 MAX aircraft, and now expects that it will return to flying service before the end of 2019, however the exact date of this return remains uncertain. 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 MAX200s, which are a variant of the MAX aircraft, these need to be separately certified by the FAA and EASA. Ryanair expects that the MAX200 will be approved for flight services within 2 months of the MAX return to service."

"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," O’Leary added.

Ryanair is the launch customer of the 737 MAX 200, a dense version of the 737 MAX 8. With the aircraft, the airline is able to carry more passengers. Recently, media outlets wrote that the carrier rebranded the name of the aircraft to “Boeing 737-8200”, after the image of the 737 MAX had suffered.

As leading low-cost carrier in Europe, Ryanair operates with over 450 Boeing 737-800s. Subsidiary airline Laudamotion also operates 21 Airbus aircraft.

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