Ryanair has confirmed it will not take delivery of its first B737 Max aircraft until this winter, while stressing that “we continue to have utmost confidence in these aircraft”.
All B737 Max aircraft have been grounded worldwide since March this year, following two fatal crashes involving Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines.
Carriers including American Airlines have pre-emptively extended flight cancellations due to the grounding of the B737 Max into the summer.
Ryanair is set to be the launch customer for the B737 Max 200, a high-density version of the B737 Max 8. The airline took delivery of its final B737-800 in December.
The confirmation of the delayed delivery came as Ryanair unveiled full year profits to March 31, 2018 of €1.02bn, down 29 per cent on the previous year.
The carrier said that strong traffic growth (up 7 per cent to 139 million passengers) had been offset by a 6 per cent decline in fares, while strong ancillary growth (up 19 per cent) had been offset by higher fuel, staffing and EU261 compensation costs.
The figures do not include Austrian carrier Lauda, which became a wholly owned subsdiary of the Ryanair Group in December 2018.
Ryanair said that higer oil prices and lower fares had caused “a wave of EU airline failures”, including Primera, Flybmi and Wow Air, and warned that “We expect further consolidation and airline failures in winter 2019 and again into 2020 due to over-capacity, weaker fares, and higher oil prices particularly among those airlines who are significantly unhedged, or unable to hedge”.
The group also forecast flat profits for the coming year, with traffic expected to grow by 8 per cent to 153 million passengers.