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Ryanair says passenger total for current year may miss target

DUBLIN, July 16 (Reuters) – Ryanair expects to fly between 151 million and 153 million passengers in the year to March 31, 2020, Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said on Tuesday, down from an earlier forecast of 153 million passengers.

O’Leary told investors on a conference call that the airline was forced to cut capacity by around 1 million passengers over the summer of 2019 due to the delay in delivery of its first five Boeing 737 MAX planes.

Ryanair on Tuesday said further delays had forced it to cut its forecast growth for the 12 months to March 2021 to 5 million passengers from 10 million passengers and that there would be knock-on cuts to the winter schedule from November 2019 to March 2020.

Asked if this would impact passenger growth for the financial year to end-March 2020, O’Leary said: “The winter grounding … has been baked into our existing traffic guidance of something of the order of 152 (million), between 151 and 153 million passengers this year.”

(Reporting by Conor Humphries; editing by Jason Neely)

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