Spanish media sources claim budget carrier Ryanair plans to close even more crew bases across Europe as the airline grapples with the worldwide Boeing 737MAX grounding. Earlier this year, Ryanair said it would slash planned growth by four per cent and the airline’s chief executive Michael O’Leary warned staff that over 1,000 redundancies could come by early next year because of the ongoing debacle.
Ryanair has already announced the closure of four crew bases in Spain – Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Girona and Lanzarote. More than 512 cabin crew and pilots could be made redundant at these bases, although Ryanair hasn’t yet detailed where the new closures will come and if some employees will have the opportunity to move to a new base.
In a leaked memo, the airline’s director of operations told staff a new problem with a specific model of the 737MAX could mean that there’s an even longer delay in receiving these jets from Boeing than originally planned. Neal McMahon explained that “design problems have arisen with the second emergency exit on the wing,”.
The issue is specific to a high-density variant of the 737MAX which is officially known as the 737MAX200.
Despite the fact that there’s still no timeline for when the 737MAX is recertified, the Dublin-based ultra-low-cost carrier had been hoping to take delivery of 20 high-density plane’s between March and May in time for the busy summer season. But now, Ryanair isn’t expecting to take delivery of its first MAX200 until the end of April at the earliest.
Ryanair expects it to take around a month to recertify the high-density variant 737MAX once the standard model has been cleared by aviation authorities.
McMahon did not specify what issue had been found with the emergency overwing exit or what type of fix would be required. The issue, however, will mean that Ryanair will now only be operating half the number of MAX200’s as it had originally hoped to be flying across the continent at the peak of the summer season.
Despite these new setbacks, Ryanair is planning to take delivery of 50 Max200’s by the spring of 2021.