Ryanair announced earlier this week that it will be cancelling several flights this winter due to the grounding of the Boeing 737 aircraft. Further flights will be cancelled in Summer 2020 and there are talks that some bases will be closed.

The budget airline ordered a fleet of high-capacity planes, the Boeing 737 MAX, before they were grounded earlier this year following two fatal crashes. Both crashes were caused by a fault with the aircraft’s anti-stall system MCAS. Despite the pilots’ best efforts to rectify the planes the noses were forced downwards killing everyone on board.

The Boeing 737 has undergone vigorous testing and on its last inspection another fault was identified. The planes will not be sent to airlines until they have been signed off by regulators.

Ryanair was hoping to have the planes by May this year, but it looks as though they will not be available until late December. Ryanair has no choice but to fly just 30 aircraft next summer as opposed to the 58 it was planning. This will see passenger numbers fall by 5 million – a substantial loss.

Recent images from the Boeing factory have shown Ryanair’s aircraft have been branded 737 8200 rather than 737 MAX.

The planes are expected to be delivered in January/February 2020.

American Airlines is also having to cancel around 115 flights daily due to the Boeing crisis, continuing into early November.

Ryanair passengers who have already booked their flights will be alerted by email or SMS if their flight is cancelled.

What can I do if my Ryanair flight is cancelled?

According to the Ryanair website, passengers due to travel on flights that have been cancelled are entitled to a refund or can change their flight free of charge. If a same day or next day flight is not available with Ryanair then they will look at flying you into another, suitable, airport in the country you are travelling to.

Failing that, Ryanair has to offer a re-route option. This is where they re-book you onto an alternative flight with another airline. All options can be discussed with the airline.

What if I have already booked car parking, car hire, transfers?

If you have already booked other aspects of your travel i.e. car parking, car hire or airport transfers speak to the provider directly. It may be possible to change bookings or cancel for a refund, however this will depend solely on the company’s terms of sale.

Claiming on your travel insurance policy may also be an option. Some travel insurance companies will offer cover for pre-paid expenses if something unforeseen has happened, after you purchased your policy, and you are no longer able to make your trip. But this cover is not widely available so check the policy wording carefully.

I booked as part of a package holiday, am I covered?

If you have booked your holiday through a tour operator or travel agent speak to them directly. They may be able to change your holiday dates or look into alternative trips for you.

Will compensation be available if Ryanair cancels my flight?

 It is highly unlikely that compensation will be available in this instance as Ryanair has given ample warning of the cancellations. Compensation is only available for passengers who have experienced a delayed flight, without prior notice.