Boeing’s MAX Likely to Return to European Service in First-Quarter: Regulator

Ryanair has been hit by problems at Boeing

Ryanair has cut passenger growth and full-year profit forecasts amid uncertainty over Brexit and further delays to the delivery of the troubled Boeing 737 Max airliner.

That represents only 2.6% growth from the current financial year, its slowest in seven years.

It had originally expected to take delivery in the summer months of this year.

During the first six months of the year, the airline's traffic grew 11% to 86 million travellers, while its revenue per guest rose 1% and €250 million was returned to shareholders under a €700 million buyback programme. And further delays on the jets could reduce that to zero growth at an airline that has increased passenger numbers by more than 10% on average since 2014.

It was expecting to take delivery of 30 737 Max in early 2020 ahead of its peak summer season but the aircraft remains grounded by Boeing following crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia which killed 336 people.

The company expects to receive 20 Boeing 737 Max-200 planes by next summer.

"The risk of further delay is rising", he said in a post-results video presentation, adding that he does not expect Boeing to achieve its target of getting the plane back in service in the United States by Christmas.

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The committee released documents about Boeing's decisions during the development of the MAX and a key safety system known as MCAS that led to the two fatal crashes and the plane's grounding in March.

Ryanair faces longer delays as it has to wait for approval by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and specific certification for Ryanair's MAX200 model, each of which are likely to cause several weeks of additional delay.

Ryanair has reported profit of €1.15 billion for the first half of its financial year, which was unchanged on the same period last year.

Ryanair has therefore also reduced its passenger figure forecasts for the next year, while it said it had a "cautious" outlook over fares for the next year.

The company narrowed its full-year profit expectations from between €750 million and €950 million to between €800 million and €900 million.

It also warned that losses at its Austrian subsidiary Laudamotion would be higher than expected due to overcapacity in Austria and Germany.

The low-priced carrier had already downgraded next year's delivery to 30 in July.

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