Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l) could downsize or even close some bases during the upcoming Winter 2019/20 season due to delays in deliveries of its new B737-8s, outgoing COO Peter Bellew has warned.

According to The Irish Times newspaper, Bellew told the airline's pilot corps that the LCC faced "major challenges" due to the grounding of the B737 MAX and the resulting halt in their deliveries. As such, it will curtail its Winter 2019/20 schedule with cuts likely to spill over into the Summer 2020 season as well.

He said that Ryanair currently had about 300 pilots too many and that the exact scale of the cuts will depend on the timeline governing the resumption of B737 MAX operations and deliveries. The airline has already stopped recruiting pilots given uncertainties surrounding its future fleet growth.

Ryanair initially planned to receive its first twenty-five B737-8-200s by the end of 2019 and another twenty-five during the first quarter of 2020. The LCC has 135 MAX 8-200s on order from Boeing. According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, the carrier's current fleet includes 407 B737-800s and a single B737-700. Malta Air operates a further eleven B737-800s, Ryanair Sun - twenty-four, and Ryanair UK - one.