Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said the airline is in talks with Boeing about a follow-on order for the US manufacturer’s grounded Max model.
While the Max has been idled worldwide for close to a year after two fatal crashes, Ryanair is in “active discussions” to buy more of the narrow-body planes, the CEO said yesterday.
The carrier is one of the biggest customers for the crisis-hit model with 210 orders, though it has yet to take any deliveries, raising the possibility of it switching loyalties to Airbus.
Mr O’Leary did not rule out buying jets from Airbus but said the European firm would need to cut its prices and come up with more attractive delivery slots.
“If the price is right we’ll buy aircraft,” he said. “I’m only interested in aircraft that will enable me to lower my operating costs. Airbus’s order book has been largely full and the pricing has been high for four or five years.”
He said the talks with Boeing concern taking more Max 200s, a high-capacity variant of the baseline Max 8 model specified by Ryanair, together with the carrier’s first batch of bigger Max 10s. The order would satisfy delivery requirements from 2024 through 2028.
Mr O’Leary said he understands that work to address final fixes required for regulators to approve the return of the Max, including wiring and software issues, should be completed by the end of April, paving the way for flight tests through May.
He said 20 planes destined for the carrier are built and will probably begin commercial flying in November.
Meanwhile, the CEO of Aer Lingus and British Airways owner IAG said the group was sticking with all its aircraft orders.