Ryanair CEO doesn’t expect first 737 MAX delivery until October

Jan 3, 2020

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Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary is preparing to not get the first of the airline’s Boeing 737 MAX aircraft until October 2020 — months later than originally planned.

In an interview with German magazine Wirtschaftswoche published on January 3, the airline executive said that unlike the low-cost carrier had originally planned, it may not get any of the beleaguered aircraft until after its busy summer season.

“We were meant to have 58 planes by the summer,” O’Leary said in his interview with Wirtschaftswoche. “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.”

While deliveries of the aircraft to Ryanair were meant to begin in April 2020, they have since been delayed following the grounding of the aircraft worldwide. Since March 2019, the aircraft has been grounded after two fatal crashes in five months left 346 dead. A fix to the automated flight control software that is said to have contributed to both crashes has taken longer than initially thought.

Even if the airline is able to take delivery of any of the 135 737 MAX aircraft it has on order before October 2020, it likely wouldn’t do that. According to Reuters, O’Leary has previously said that Ryanair wouldn’t take delivery of any of the aircraft in July or August, as it’s the airline’s busiest time of the year and the likelihood for disruption is high.

In December, Ryanair announced that it was forced to close two bases in Europe — Nuremberg, Germany and Stockholm Skavsta, Sweden — as the result of MAX delivery delays.

Several U.S. carriers — including Southwest, American and United — have been forced to delay the return of the grounded MAXs to their fleets. Last month, United announced that it was grounding its MAX flights until June — the longest of any U.S. carrier for keeping the aircraft out of service.

In December, Boeing announced that it would temporarily suspend its 737 MAX production line beginning in January.

Featured photo by Nicolas Economou/Getty Images.

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