Ryanair does U-turn and opts for all-Boeing fleet


Having had talks with Airbus in March 2019 about a potential order for 100 A321s and thus create a dual Airbus-Boeing fleet of aircraft, Ryanair, the Irish low-cost carrier, has announced its intention to cancel any existing deliveries of Airbus aircraft, all of which would have been from leasing companies.

As part of the U-turn, Ryanair CEO told Reuters news agency that 30 jets destined for its Lauda subsidiary would be replaced with Boeing 737 jets, of which Ryanair currently has 450. Currently O’Leary sees holding any talks with Airbus as a waste of time, saying that:  “We would not initiate talks with Airbus until such time as Airbus wants to initiate talks with us,” adding that: “Until they need an order from the Ryanair Group, frankly we are wasting our time talking to Airbus.”

Until the Covid-19 pandemic decimated worldwide air travel, Ryanair had anticipated expanding the Lauda fleet from 23 to 38 Airbus jets by the summer of this year, but instead it is now in talks with unions at Lauda concerning a new labor agreement and also pay cuts. As the Austrian union is currently refusing to engage in negotiations with Ryanair, O’Leary has made it very clear that if nothing changes, he will simply close down the home base of Lauda in Austria. He also made it clear that talks with Boeing regarding a new order and possible compensation for losses incurred through the grounding of the 737 would be unlikely to conclude before a previously given deadline of May 18-19 and that such negotiations would be unlikely to conclude until the grounding of the 737 was lifted, which is currently expected to be in August or September this year.

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