Irish LCC Ryanair is making cuts to its European network of bases as a result of the growing impact of the Boeing 737 MAX grounding.

In a Dec. 4 investor update, Ryanair Holdings said worsening delivery delays on its customized MAX 200 order means it must further revise its summer 2020 schedules.

The airline plans to close bases at Stockholm Skavsta (Sweden) and Nuremberg (Germany) in summer 2020.

“We also expect to cut summer capacity in a number of other existing bases, and we are currently in discussions with our people, our unions, and our affected airports to finalize these minor reductions,” the airline said in a statement.

As uncertainty continues to plague the MAX's planned return to service, Ryanair now expects to receive only 10 of the aircraft in time for the summer season. Initially it had planned to receive 58, but this number has been shrinking steadily as the aircraft’s grounding continues. Only a month ago, in its 2019 first-half results, the airline said it had downgraded the number of MAXs it expected to receive to 20, and warned of base closures and job cuts.

“As a result, expected traffic growth for FY21 [year ending 31 March 2021] is cut from 157 million guests to 156 million,” the company said in a statement issued Dec. 4. Earlier this year, the airline said it had planned to carry 162 million passengers in FY21.

“We regret these two further base closures and minor capacity cuts at other bases, which are solely due to further delivery delays to our Boeing MAX aircraft,” Ryanair DAC CEO Eddie Wilson said. “We are continuing to work with Boeing, our people, our unions and our affected airports to minimize these capacity cuts and job losses.”

Over the summer, Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary warned on several occasions that base closures and staff cuts were a likely consequence of the problems besetting the MAX.

Ryanair has 135 MAX 200s on firm order, with another 75 options.

Alan Dron