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737MAX delays hurt Spanish airports as Ryanair cuts back

Unions representing Ryanair cabin crew and pilots in Spain have protested the planned closure of four Ryanair bases at Tenerife-Sur, Gran Canaria Las Palmas and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, and Girona on the mainland (northeast of Barcelona).

The closures are expected to result in the loss of close to 520 jobs, including more than 120 pilots. Labour groups believe that the base closures are unjustified, with no reason given other than the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX.

In Jul-2019 Ryanair reduced its planned summer 2020 capacity growth from 7% to 3% because of expected delays to its MAX delivery schedule. Consequently, it said, it would need to close/cut its fleet at some bases for summer 2020 and winter 2019/2020. Its Canary Islands bases are understood to be heavily loss-making in the winter.

Nevertheless, Spain is an important revenue source for Ryanair and is a very popular holiday destination for its customers.

Overall growth in this market is slowing, even reversing this winter, after strong expansion in 2013 to 2017, partly reflecting some market consolidation. Ryanair is the leading Spain-Europe airline, although it has lost some market share. Spain, including the four airports where bases are set to close, will remain important to Ryanair.

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