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July 16, 2019, 2:56 a.m. EDT

Ryanair warns on summer 2020 growth over Max jets

By Oliver Griffin

Ryanair Holdings PLC on Tuesday said delays in deliveries of Boeing Co. (NYS:BA) MAX aircraft mean it expects lower growth next summer and that it will have to make cuts and closures at some of its bases from winter this year.

The low-cost airline carrier said it has cut its expected growth rate in summer 2020 to 3% from 7% as problems with Boeing's 737 MAX series have resulted in delayed aircraft deliveries.

Boeing's 737 MAX jet was grounded earlier this year following fatal crashes in Ethiopia and off the coast of Indonesia in recent months.

Ryanair said it remains committed to the 737 MAX jet and now expects it will return to flying service before the end of 2019, though an exact date remains uncertain.

Ryanair is waiting for delivery of Boeing's MAX200s--a variant of the MAX aircraft--which aviation authorities will have to certify separately. Ryanair said it expects the MAX200 to be approved for flight service within two months of the 737 MAX jets' return to service.

Ryanair said it will have to revise its summer 2020 schedule based on 30 incremental aircraft, rather than 58. This also means that passenger numbers in the year to March 2021 are now expected to be around 157 million, down from 162 million.

This shortfall in aircraft deliveries will require some base cuts and closures from this winter and going into next summer, the airline said.

The company said it is starting talks with its airports to determine which of Ryanair's underperforming or loss-making bases should suffer the short term cuts and/or closures, which will start in November.

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