Low-cost carrier Ryanair has blamed Boeing delivery delays of the 737 MAX aircraft for cuts to its autumn and winter schedule.
On September 28, 2023, Ryanair announced that it was reducing operations as a “direct result” of Boeing’s failure to supply 27 aircraft that were expected between September and December 2023.
Ryanair now expects to receive only 14 aircraft between October and December 2023.
According to a statement from the carrier the situation evolved due to production issues at the Spirit Fuselage facility in Wichita, combined with Boeing’s repair and delivery delays in Seattle.
Bloomberg reported that the delays are a result of issues at Spirit AeroSystems which builds the aircraft’s frame.
Ryanair is working with Boeing to try to accelerate deliveries between January and May 2024 so that it can enter the summer 2024 peak travel season with all 57 new Boeing aircraft deliveries as expected.
“We are working closely with Boeing and their supplier, Spirit, to minimize these delivery delays. It is deeply regrettable that production problems in Wichita, and in Seattle, have yet again delayed Boeing’s contracted deliveries to Ryanair this winter. We are in regular dialogue with Boeing, and our primary objective is to ensure we get delivery of all 57 contracted B737 aircraft before the end of May 2024, so that Ryanair’s fleet can grow to over 600 aircraft for what will be our largest ever summer flight program,” Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said.
For winter 2023, Ryanair is reducing the number of Charleroi-based aircraft by three, Dublin-based aircraft by two, and will reduce five aircraft across four Italian bases, including Bergamo, Naples, and Pisa.
There will also be aircraft reductions in East Midlands, Porto, and Cologne.
The delivery delays have been exacerbated because Ryanair has no spare aircraft this winter.
According to the airline, scheduled maintenance is necessary across its full fleet of over 550 aircraft in order to have them all serviceable for its largest ever summer 2024 schedule.
O’Leary added: “These flight cancellations will take effect from the end of Oct and will be communicated to all affected passengers by email over the coming days. Passengers will be offered seats on alternative flights or full refunds as they so wish. We apologize sincerely to passengers for any inconvenience caused by these delivery delays this winter.”
Ryanair does not expect the delivery delays will affect its full year traffic target of 183.5 million passengers, but if the delays worsen or extend further into the January to March 2024 period, then O’Leary has said the airline may have to revisit this figure and possibly adjust it slightly downward.