Ryanair Airlines has offered to order more of Boeing's grounded 737 MAX jet, but the deal will likely not be finalized until the aircraft is returned to service, said Ryanair Chief Executive Officer Michael O'Leary according to a report by Reuters.
Ryanair buys big from Boeing
This comes on the heels of the Irish Airline's release of its fourth-quarter (Q4) financial records from 2019. In a subsequent conference call, O'Leary said that in addition to the MAX 200 model already on order, the company wants to order an undisclosed number of 737 MAX jets.
"To be fair to them I don't think the new management team is in a position to be able to talk to us about a new order," said O'Leary. "We understand that, but we have an offer in and we expect to be at the head of the queue."
As one of the biggest MAX customers, Ryanair currently has 210 such airplanes on order. The first 55 were slated for delivery this Summer, but are now delayed until Summer 2021.
"We expect to reprice the (MAX) 200 order we already have and we would expect to put in place or agree (to) a deal with Boeing on new aircraft pretty soon after the return to service has been resolved," said O'Leary.
Rising stakes between Boeing and Airbus
During the call, O'Leary stressed that Airbus — a French airplane manufacturer and competitor to Boeing — holds a 12- to 18-month lead over Boeing in terms of aircraft orders. That's a significant gap. "[T]he new management team at Boeing need to be capturing back that lead," said O'Leary. "[T]he starting point should be their biggest existing custmers, which is Southwest [Airlines] and Ryanair."