Ryanair says Boeing eyes MAX flights by Oct, cites 2020 growth risk

BRUSSELS, July 10 (Reuters) - Ryanair may have to trim plans to grow its capacity in the summer of 2020 if the grounded 737 MAX is not flying again by November because of the rate at which it needs to take new deliveries over the winter, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

Boeing has told the airline it expects the 737 MAX to be flying by end-September, Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary told Reuters. He added that while nobody knew when the MAX would be back in service, he believed this target could slip to end-year.

Ryanair is waiting to take delivery of 50 new MAX aircraft, which it can receive at a maximum rate of 6 to 8 per month, he said in an interview on the sidelines of an airlines meeting.

Europe’s largest budget carrier is also putting “much more pressure” on Boeing after British Airways owner IAG signed a surprise letter of intent for 200 MAX aircraft last month, O’Leary said.

Ryanair has a deal with Boeing guaranteeing lower prices than its competitors, industry analysts say.

Reporting by Tim Hepher in Brussels, writing by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle