Ryanair has confirmed plans to close its bases in the Canary Islands, citing ongoing delays in delivery of its new Boeing 737 Max aircraft.
The budget carrier made the admission in a statement railing against planned strike action next month by a “small number” of its Spain-based cabin crew.
Ryanair said the strikes would affect a handful of its 950 daily flights to and from Spain, with six cancellations planned on 1 September and eight on 2 September. Passengers have been notified by email and text.
“We remain open to engaging with SITCPLA and USO [unions], and we call on them to return to talks,” said the airline in a statement.
“The closure of loss-making winter bases in the Canary Islands due to the Boeing Max aircraft delivery delays will not be reversed by these pointless strikes.”
Ryanair has 135 of Boeing’s grounded aircraft on order, around which it had based its 2019/20 winter, spring and summer schedules.
The grounding in March has seen Boeing reduce the rate at which it produces Max aircraft owing to ongoing efforts to produce a software fix for a deep-seated flight control system, which preliminary investigations have suggested was active during two fatal crashes – one last October and another in March – involving the Max.
Ryanair in July said it would likely reduce capacity at some bases and potentially close others due to delays delivering its Max aircraft.
In total, the airline has cut its planned rate of growth for summer 2020 by 4% and full-year traffic through March 2021 by about five million passengers from 162 million to 157 million.
“This shortfall in aircraft deliveries will necessitate some base cuts and closures for summer 2020, but also for the winter 2019 schedule,” said Ryanair in July.
“We are starting a series of discussions with our airports to determine which of Ryanair’s underperforming or loss-making bases should suffer these short-term cuts and/or closures from November 2019.
“We will also be consulting with our people and our unions in planning and implementing these base cuts and closures.”