Ryanair CEO Expects Return of 737 Max in February/March, as Company Suspends Boeing Payments
Updated: Jan 11, 2020
At Ryanair’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), company CEO Michael O’Leary expressed his belief that the Boeing 737 MAX wouldn’t return to service in Europe until February or March 2020.
Europe’s largest low-cost-carrier, Ryanair is making news today after its annual meeting as shareholders narrowly approve an £88 million pay package for CEO Michael O’Leary, the company suspends payments to Boeing on late 737 Max deliveries and a new “realistic” time frame for the return of the beleaguered Max is expressed.
According to the company website, Ryanair operates a fleet of over 450 737-800’s and currently has orders for 135 new 737 Max 200’s with an option for 75 more. Ryanair has not yet received deliveries of any 737 Max aircraft, but the company is well prepared for training on the re-certified software and other fixes with two Max simulators. Ryanair expects to expand its fleet by 585 by 2024, to handle an expected passenger volume of 200 million, up from 142 million in 2018.
Reuters reports that Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary believes that re-certification of the 737 Max in Europe is likely about two months behind FAA re-certification in the U.S., still expected by year-end. Only then will the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) evaluate the aircraft for re-certification, having previously announced an independent determination, along with other sovereign regulators. According to Mr. O'Leary, the "best outlook" would have the Max returning to European skies some time in January, but a more realistic time frame would be February or March.
Meanwhile, according to the BBC, shareholders narrowly approved a pay package for Mr. O’Leary worth £88 million over five years, with only 50.5% of shareholders voting in favor. Amidst a sharp drop in profits in the last financial year and an “overcapacity” of pilots, the company also announced that they would be cutting 500-700 jobs from their workforce of around 19,000. Additionally, the airline has been under the constant threat of actions by their unionized work groups.
Ryanair originally expected to have 60 Max aircraft in operation by Summer 2020, but that outlook has since been reduced to 30. Bloomberg reports that Ryanair has also
cut payments to Boeing due to late 737 Max deliveries, but no further details were given. In addition to lawsuits by families of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accident victims, Boeing faces claims likely to reach the multi-billion-dollar range by airline operators and leasing companies impacted by the 737 MAX grounding.
Source(s): Reuters, BBC