Published: Wed, July 17, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Ryanair CEO says confident in 'great' Boeing 737 MAX despite delays

Ryanair CEO says confident in 'great' Boeing 737 MAX despite delays

Low-priced airline Ryanair has warned over plans for cuts and closures at some of its bases from this winter due to delays to aircraft deliveries amid the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft crisis.

The day before, The Guardian reported that a Boeing 737 Max plane that was to be delivered to Ryanair had the word Max removed from its name, fuelling speculation that this was done in order to rebrand the notorious aircraft once it receives permission to fly.

It remains unclear how long the approval will take and two U.S. airlines, United and American, recently extended cancellation of MAX services through to early November.

Ryanair expects to have around 30 planes next summer, instead of the 58 it initially thought, after Boeing was ordered to ground its Boeing 737 MAX planes earlier this year following two fatal crashes.

The aircraft is now expected to return to the air in January 2020, fully 12 months after the company proposed the initial replacement of software implicated in deadly crashes, according to some U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials and industry leaders.

Ryanair said it hopes its Boeing MAX airplanes will return to flying service before the end of the year, but admitted the exact date is "uncertain".

In May, the airline reported a surprise first-quarter profit despite the the grounding of Boeing's 737 MAX jets.

He added: "This shortfall in aircraft deliveries will necessitate some base cuts and closures for summer 2020, but also for the winter 2019 schedule".

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Chief executive Michael O'Leary spoke about the news, saying: "For planning purposes, Ryanair will now revise its summer 2020 schedule based on 30 incremental aircraft, rather than 58.

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".

"Boeing is working very closely with the FAA on the process they have laid out to certify the 737 MAX software update and return the MAX to service".

Yet Ryanair customers can take some heart from the fact the airline plans to "restore out growth to normal levels" by summer 2021 - therefore bringing back scheduled services and expanding.

Southwest Airlines said on July 1 it expected to keep its Boeing 737 MAX jets off the flying schedule beyond the current Oct.1 re-entry date.

If Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration had done their jobs properly, Njoroge said, "these planes would have been grounded in November and today I would be enjoying summer with my family, I would be playing football with my son".

Analysts had expected the planes to be back in the air by August, but Boeing does not expect to submit a software fix to United States regulators until September.

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