Ryanair warns of job losses over Boeing delay

Staff memo comes as Michael O'Leary again criticises Sajid Javid

Ryanair plane
Ryanair has signed a formal recognition agreement
(Image credit: Thomas Lohnes/AFP/Getty Images)

Ryanair has warned it may close bases and cut jobs after the date for delivery of its first 10 of Boeing’s grounded 737 Max aircraft was delayed until the autumn.

In a memo sent to pilots on Monday, the Irish low-cost airline said Boeing would not deliver the first aircraft until September or October at the earliest, as Ryanair does not take deliveries during its peak summer months of June, July and August.

The airline had initially hoped to have the planes by March or April.

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Eddie Wilson, an executive at Ryanair, wrote that the airline’s summer schedule relied on the delivery of the 10 planes. The memo said the commercial team would be drawing up plans for job cuts over the coming week.

Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft have been grounded worldwide since March 2019, following two deadly crashes that were blamed on the model’s faulty systems. More than 340 people died in the two crashes.

Ryanair is not the only airline affected. Last week the US airline Southwest said the grounding had cut $828m (£637m) off its 2019 profits.

Meanwhile, company boss Michael O'Leary has accused Chancellor Sajid Javid of making “inaccurate and misleading” statements, thus reigniting the row over help offered to Flybe.

After the government approved help for the struggling regional airline, including giving it extra time to pay outstanding Air Passenger Duty, O'Leary told Javid that allowing Flybe to delay payment was “in breach of state aid rules”.

The letter comes weeks after O'Leary threatened legal action over the government's help for Flybe. He said that unless Javid confirmed what support was being given to Flybe within seven days, Ryanair would launch proceedings against the government.

However, the government has insisted that the rescue plan is compliant with state aid laws.

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