Budget airline Ryanair says it plans to close some of its bases and will fly fewer passengers.

Ryanair has warned they plan to downsize and close some of its airport locations because of the delays to deliveries of Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft. The airline says it will reduce the number of flights it operates next summer and now expects to carry 157 million passengers in the year to March 2021, rather than 162 million.

Ryanair said the shortfall in aircraft deliveries will mean “some base cuts and closures” for the winter and next summer, and it has started talking to airports to identify which underperforming or lossmaking bases to shut from November. Ryanair will consult with its staff and unions.

Ryanair is Europe’s biggest budget airline and ordered 135 of the 737 Max planes, but the planes remain grounded after two crashes.

How has the Boeing issue affected Ryanair?

Because all Boeing jets have been grounded until the issue has been resolved, airlines have had to replace these planes and rent out new ones to cover all flights. The issue with Boeing is showing no signs of resolving anytime soon. The head of the FAA has said the fleet should stay grounded until all planes are safe. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is a governmental body of the United States which regulates all aspects of civil aviation in that nation as well as over its surrounding international waters.

Boeing have said that as soon as the software update, along with the training modifications is complete, they hope to have the jets up and running again. Boeing have been trying to lessen the damage by blaming ‘pilot error’ on the two international crashes, but this has not been welcomed by the international aviation community. When Boeing introduced the new 737 Max, the FAA say this system was not overseen by approvers and when a flaw developed in that system, Boeing did not tell the required bodies about it until after a year had passed. So, this issue could continue for some time, and at a great cost to airlines that bought those planes.

The Ryanair chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said: Ryanair remains committed to the 737 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. Ryanair will continue to work with Boeing and EASA [European Aviation Safety Agency] to recover these delivery delays during the winter of 2020 so that we can restore our growth to normal levels in summer 2021.”

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