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Ryanair announced some adjustments to its plans on Tuesday, including the closure of some of its bases, as a result of expected delivery delays of the grounded Boeing 737 Max jets.
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The European airline’s top executive, Michael O'Leary, in a news release said the aircraft (which was grounded in March following the deadly Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes) is anticipated to fly before the end of 2019. A specific date was unclear, he added.
“Boeing is hoping that a certification package will be submitted to regulators by September with a return to service shortly thereafter,” O’Leary said. “We believe it would be prudent to plan for that date to slip by some months, possibly as late as December.”
In planning for the summer of 2020, the CEO said the company will take delivery of only 30 Max jets through May of next year.
“This is less than the 58 MAX aircraft Boeing originally scheduled to deliver for our summer 2020 schedule,” he said, adding that the number is subject to change.
The delivery delays have prompted the need for “some base cuts and closures” for the coming winter and 2020 summer, O’Leary said. The company is in talks with its airports to decide which bases will be affected, he said.
The airline also warned that its growth in European summer traffic for 2020 will be lower than expected because of the slowed deliveries.
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“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,” O’Leary said.
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The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is due to review Boeing's fixes and has said it is following a thorough process, but has no timetable for when the recertification will be completed. European regulators have to then approve the jets before they can be used in the region.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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