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Ryanair warns it could shut bases and cut jobs after 737 Max delays

Jasper Jolly
Photograph: Martin Meissner/AP

Ryanair has warned pilots it could close bases and cut jobs after the date for delivery of its first 10 of Boeing’s grounded 737 Max aircraft slipped into the autumn.

The Irish low-cost airline said Boeing would not deliver the first aircraft until September or October at the earliest, as Ryanair does not take deliveries during its peak summer months of June, July and August, according to a memo dated 27 January.

Two months ago Ryanair said it hoped to get the first of the 135 new 737 Max planes it has ordered in March or April, already two months after their original due date.

The memo said the airline’s commercial team would be drawing up plans for job cuts over the coming week, with staff to be informed in the first or second week of February.

Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft have been grounded worldwide since March 2019, following two deadly crashes which were blamed on the model’s faulty systems. 346 people died in the two crashes.

In the memo Ryanair executive Eddie Wilson wrote that the airline’s summer schedule relied on the delivery of the 10 planes. He apologised for the uncertainty for pilots and said the airline would try to prioritise cuts in flight frequencies over the closure of bases.

Last week the US airline Southwest said the grounding had cut $828m (£637m) off its 2019 profits, while Tui, the world’s biggest tour operator, last month warned that an extension of the grounding past April could cost it up to €400m (£338m) in 2020.