Boeing 737 MAX Delay Could Force Ryanair To Close Bases

Yesterday, we reported that Ryanair was changing the name printed on their Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. However, today the story develops. The Irish low-cost airlines’ Chief Operating Officer has warned that some bases could be downsized or closed.

Ryanair Boeing 737 MAX Delay
The airline was due to receive its first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in April. Photo: Ryanair

The Boeing 737 MAX’s grounding has had a profound effect on some of the airlines which are relying on it most. One of these airlines is Ryanair, who are due to receive 135 Boeing 737-MAX200 aircraft. The airlines first 737 MAX aircraft were due to be delivered in April. However, this was delayed given the aircraft’s worldwide grounding.

What was said?

The comments regarding the Boeing 737 MAX closing bases were reported by The Irish Times from Ryanair’s Cheif Operating Officer, Peter Bellew. Mr. Bellew is set to leave his job by the end of the year following his second stint working for the airline.

The airline had initially been planning a large expansion for next summer, given its new aircraft deliveries. However, it has now been reported that Ryanair has stopped hiring pilots as it has too many. In fact, according to an internal letter sent by Mr. Bellew and seen by the Irish Times, the airline has around 300 too many pilots. However, Ryanair is not alone in this respect. Earlier this year, Icelandair laid off its Boeing 737 MAX pilots as a result of the crisis.

Ryanair Boeing 737 MAX Delay
The airline is now expecting its first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in early 2020. Photo: Ryanair

2020 MAX deliveries

According to Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary, the company is now expecting its first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in 2020. He made the comments to Irish Times separately from Mr. Bellew. According to O’Leary, Ryanair’s 200 seat Boeing 737 MAX has to go through a certification process separate to the model it is based on.

To accommodate 200 passengers, the aircraft has an extra set of emergency exits built into the fuselage. O’Leary told the Irish Times,

“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”.

Ryanair Boeing 737 MAX Delay
The 200 seat aircraft requires separate certification due to its additional emergency exits. Photo: Ryanair

Boeing 737 MAX implementation plan

O’Leary’s comments go on to address how Ryanair will implement the Boeing 737 MAX. The carrier had been expecting to start the summer 2020 schedule with 58 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. However, this will now be much lower.

Ryanair will only be able to accept between six and eight Boeing 737 MAX aircraft per month. As such, by the time next year’s summer schedule arrives, O’Leary hopes to be operating 30 of the Boeing 737 MAX-200, or the Boeing 737-8200 as the aircraft has been renamed.

How long do you think the Boeing 737 MAX grounding will affect Ryanair. Which bases do you think could get the chop if necessary? Let us know in the comments!