London - Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary said today (Feb. 3) that the ongoing 737 MAX grounding forced the airline to push back its growth targets.
The budget carrier, which is based in Ireland and carries more passengers than any other airline in Europe, plans to extend by a year or two its target of flying 200 million people per year.
It now expects to make that target in 2025 or the year after.
The 737 Max was grounded worldwide in March, after two crashes within five months killed 346 people in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
Boeing is updating the plane to improve safety and said last month that it doesn’t expect federal regulators to approve its changes until this summer, several months longer than the company was saying just a few weeks ago.
Ryanair said it does not expect to take deliveries of the jets until September or October, after the busy summer travel period.
Like many airlines, Ryanair had been hoping to boost business with the 737 Max, as the plane can provide more seats while burning less fuel, which makes up for a large part of the cost of flying the plane.