Ryanair shares fall on fresh 737-Max fears and oil spike

Ryanair shares fell after the airline group’s chief executive said it may only receive its first delivery of the grounded 737-Max aircraft, from Boeing, in October.

Ryanair shares fall on fresh 737-Max fears and oil spike

Ryanair shares fell after the airline group’s chief executive said it may only receive its first delivery of the grounded 737-Max aircraft, from Boeing, in October.

Michael O’Leary’s comments came in an interview with German magazine Wirtschaftswoche.

The 737-Max, Boeing’s fastest-selling aircraft, has not flown since last March, following two crashes, which claimed 346 lives.

Last month, Mr O’Leary said that Ryanair may not receive any Max aircraft in time for its summer season.

Ryanair has 135 of the planes on order, but none in service.

Mr O’Leary has previously said it would not take orders in July or August, because those are the airline’s busiest months.

“We were meant to have 58 planes by the summer,” Mr O’Leary said in the German interview.

“That went down to 30, then 20, then 10, and the latest is maybe only five. It’s possible we’ll only get the first jets in October 2020.”

Last month, United Airlines extended the grounding of its in-service Max flights until June, the longest period that any US carrier has scheduled for keeping the aircraft out of service.

Boeing has been criticised by regulators, suppliers, and airlines for providing what have turned out to be unrealistic estimates for the model returning to service and, last month, said that it was freezing 737 production in January.

In contrast to other airlines, which have already agreed compensation with Boeing, including Turkish, Southwest Airlines, and Germany’s TUI, Mr O’Leary said he would only discuss recompense after the planes were delivered.

Meanwhile, Ryanair has also updated on passenger numbers, saying it carried 11.2m people across its European route network in December; an increase of 9% on the same month in 2018. That figure covers both Ryanair and the Austrian budget airline, Lauda.

However, the overwhelming bulk of those passengers were attributable to the main Ryanair brand.

Last month, Ryanair trimmed its passenger traffic forecasts, saying it would cut summer capacity and an unspecified number of jobs, as a result of further delays in returning the 737-Max aircraft to service.

Ryanair shares fell by more than 2%, before paring back some of those losses to close at just over 1%.

All major European airline stocks — including Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, EasyJet, and Aer Lingus and British Airways-owner, IAG — fell sharply on the back of soaring oil prices, after US air strikes escalated Middle East tensions.

- Additional reporting Thomas Escritt, Reuters

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