Ryanair holds firm on job cuts as grounded aircraft delays worsen

Ryanair has held firm on plans to cut pilot and cabin crew jobs after it revealed further delays following the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max planes.

The budget airline said it now expects to receive its first Max planes in March 2020, two months later than previously forecast.

Ryanair has therefore also reduced its passenger figure forecasts for the next year, while it said it had a “cautious” outlook over fares for the next year.

The company said it will be forced to “cut or close a number of loss-making bases this winter” due to the delays, affecting pilots and cabin crews.

In July, the company said job losses were “inevitable”, warning that up to 900 jobs could go as a result of soaring fuel prices and the grounded aircraft problems.

It said it expects the aircraft to drive improvements at the business once they arrive, but that it might not see resultant cost savings until the 2021 full year.

In a video alongside the results, chief executive Michael O’Leary said there is “a real risk that it would have no Boeing 737 Max aircraft flying next summer if there are additional delays to the return to service of the grounded aircraft.

“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.”

However, the Ireland-headquartered business reported post-tax profits of 1.15 billion euros (£1 billion) for the half-year to September, in line with the same period in 2018.

It also boosted revenues by 11% to 5.4 billion euros (£4.6 billion) driven by a 11% rise in passenger numbers over the half year.

Ryanair was buoyed by the opening of new bases in Bordeaux, Marseilles, Toulouse, Southend and Berlin.

Nevertheless, the company said it had tried to avoid the “unreliable optimism of some competitors”.

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