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Ryanair CEO Voices Doubts Over Boeing 737 MAX Deliveries

By Dave Simpson

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary has raised further doubts over Boeing's ability to fulfil an order of its 737 MAX aircraft on time and will meet the planemaker in Seattle this month to discuss production problems.

Details

Ryanair, a major Boeing customer, has ordered 210 of the more fuel-efficient model and had received 73 by June. O'Leary said a further 51 of the 197-seat aircraft were due by the end of April, including 21 by the end of this year.

"We are concerned that Boeing will not meet those deliveries. They are running late at the moment, there are problems with production in Seattle and we want to understand those problems," O'Leary told a news conference.

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"They say they can. We doubt their capacity to deliver. We were supposed to get 21 aircraft this side of Christmas. They are now mumbling it might be 17, it might be 15. It's difficult to get any specifics out of Boeing."

Asked about O'Leary's comments, a Boeing spokesperson said the planemaker valued its partnership with Ryanair and is committed to supporting the airline.

O'Leary said Ryanair had agreed during discussions with Boeing last week to go to Seattle to establish when it would be getting the 51 aircraft, which it said were needed to ensure continued growth next year.

The Irish airline flew a record number of passengers for the fourth month in a row in August as it consolidated its position as Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers.

O'Leary said in July that he was confident the aircraft would be delivered but concerned about a possible repeat of delays this year that forced it to take deliveries during its busy summer season.

"At the moment I don't trust what the Boeing team in Seattle are telling us because they keep letting us down," O'Leary told Wednesday 7 September's news conference, which was focused on Ryanair plans to stop using Brussels' main airport as a base.

The airline blamed higher airport fees and a Belgian eco-tax.

Ryanair Passenger Numbers Hit New All-Time High In August

The above news followed news that Ryanair in August flew a record number of passengers for the fourth month in a row as it continued to consolidate its position as Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers.

The Irish low cost carrier, which unlike many airlines made a point of keeping its pilots and crew up-to-date with their flying hours during the pandemic, flew 16.9 million passengers in August compared to a pre-COVID peak of 14.9 million in August 2019.

Ryanair last week flew an average of over 3,000 flights a day, almost double the 1,600 flights of its next largest rival easyJet, according to European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol.

The average proportion of empty seats per flight were 4%, for the second month in a row compared to 3% in August 2019.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
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