Ryanair has postponed its acquisition of Boeing 737 MAX planes to March 2020. This will be two months late than its initial forecast of January 2020.
The move is expected to push its 2020 passenger growth to its lowest level in years.
The airline is one of Boeing’s biggest customers for the grounded plane, with 210 planes on order.
CEO Michael O’Leary said the company had lowered its estimate to 20 planes by next summer.
“The risk of further delay is rising,” he added, saying he did not expect Boeing to achieve its target of getting the plane back in service in the United States by Christmas.
U.S. carriers do not expect to fly the MAX until 2020, according to their schedules, as they wait for regulators to end a worldwide grounding that followed two deadly crashes.
Ryanair faces longer delays as it has to wait for approval by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). It also has to get specific certification for Ryanair’s MAX200 model, each of which is likely to cause several weeks of additional delay.
Ryanair now expects to fly 157 million passengers in the year to March 31 2021, a growth rate of just 2.6per cent from its target of 153 million in its current financial year, its slowest growth rate in seven years.
Ryanair is an Irish budget airline. Its headquarters are in Swords, Dublin, Ireland. Its primary operational bases are at Dublin and London Stansted airports. It operates more than 400 Boeing 737-800 aircrafts.
Ryanair’s route network serves 38 countries in Europe, North Africa (Morocco), and the Middle East (Israel, Lebanon and Jordan).