Ryanair pilots and cabin crew staff could lose their jobs in the lead up to Christmas as the airline experiences further delays to the delivery of new planes.
In July, chief executive Michael O’Leary told staff to prepare for as many as 900 job cuts as he warned that the Irish budget airline’s expansion plans would be slowed dramatically following the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max.
Ryanair has now said in a statement that it expects to receive its first 737 Max planes in March or April 2020, two months later than originally expected.
Despite rising revenues, Ryanair said it wasn’t enough to cease plans to cut staff and destinations.
“We will be forced to cut or close a number of loss making bases this winter leading to pilot and cabin crew job losses,” Ryanair said in a statement.
“We continue to work with our people and their unions to finalise this process.”
Ryanair told its staff that the budget airline has 500 more pilots and 400 more cabin crew than it needs in July.
The firm has highlighted problems with its new planes as reasons for the cuts.
Ryanair’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said: “We have now reduced our expectation of 30 Max aircraft being delivered to us in advance of peak summer 2020 down to 20 aircraft and there is a real risk of none.”
Ryanair reiterated that this will more than halve its passenger growth rate next summer to 3% from 7%, with the airline carrying 157 million people over the year as a whole rather than 162 million as previously planned.
O’Leary said: “We have already reduced our passenger growth forecast … we may have to cut that again but, frankly, there is no point in keeping on changing the number until we get more certainty.”
The new Boeing 737 MAX jets carry more passengers, and uses less fuel than its existing planes, however complications leading to the aircraft being temporarily grounded while waiting for the certificates means heavy delays to Ryanair’s order while safety checks on the planes are under way.
“Delivery of the Group’s first B737-MAX-200 aircraft has been repeatedly delayed,” Ryanair said.
“We now expect our first MAX aircraft to deliver in March/April 2020 at the earliest (subject to EASA approval). The risk of further delay is rising.”
“We remain confident that these “gamechanger” aircraft (which have 4% more seats, but burn 16% less fuel) when delivered will transform our cost base and our business for the next decade,” Ryanair said.
“Sadly, due to the MAX delivery delays, we will be forced to cut or close a number of loss making bases this winter leading to pilot and cabin crew job losses.”
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