Ryanair has delayed delivery of its first next-generation Boeing 737-MAX aircraft as it awaits regulatory approval following two crashes.

The European budget carrier said its first five aircraft will be delivered in winter 2019.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency suspended all 737-MAX flights in March after an Ethiopian Airlines crash that month.

This followed a crash of a Lion Air flight last October and suspicions have focused on the aircraft’s fly-by-wire technology.

In an end of year trading update, Ryanair said: “We continue to have utmost confidence in these aircraft which have 4% more seats, are 16% more fuel efficient and generate 40% lower noise emissions.”

Ryanair added the aircraft will “deliver significant unit cost savings” for the next five years”.

However, it added the delayed deliveries mean it will not see any meaningful cost benefit until the end of its 2021 financial year.

Following the two crashes the US Department of Transportation started an investigation. Boeing has said it is developing new software having acknowledged it played a role in both accidents.

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