Ryanair's MAX Headaches
- During its calendar Q4 earnings call, Ryanair said it’s still interested in buying additional B737 MAXs from Boeing, on top of the 200-plus it’s already ordered. Indeed, it even made an offer to do so, eyeing the upsized -10 version that would carry 230 passengers.
Providing some unsolicited advice, Ryanair said Boeing should begin rebuilding lost narrowbody market share by focusing on sales to its two biggest B737 customers: Itself and Southwest. But first, it adds, Boeing needs to get the plane back in service, then catch up on backlogged deliveries, then get the production back on track, then deliver “a reasonable quantum of aircraft” per month, and then “start finding new orders.”
In the meantime, Ryanair naturally expects compensation for its MAX-related losses covering lost revenue and unrealized cost savings. What it wants, specifically, is a re-pricing of future deliveries. It also expects to be “at the head of the queue” when Boeing sorts out who’s first to get MAX deliveries once they start again.
That said, Ryanair only has an appetite for a maximum eight deliveries per month, and no more than 50 by summer 2021. It happens to be one of the few airlines in the world with its own MAX simulators, two of them in fact, with a third coming in June. That should make things easy if all that pilots will need is an initial MAX simulator session, with recurrent training thereafter done on either MAX or NG simulators.
What it badly does not want are regulations that mandate even recurrent training be done specifically on MAX simulators only. This would effectively leave Ryanair with two separate fleet types, and by extension higher costs and less operational flexibility.
- The climb-down at Etihad, once one of the world’s fastest-growing airlines, continues. The embattled Gulf carrier sold 16 B777-300ERs, which it will then lease back, and 22 A330s, which will leave its fleet. One of the buyers is the American investment firm KKR. The other is a lessor called Altavair.
Etihad is in the third year of a “transformation” plan designed to cut massive losses. Abu Dhabi’s government, which started the airline in 2003, is now taking a different approach to stimulating its aviation sector.
It’s fostering the birth of two new low-cost carriers, one of them an Etihad joint venture with Air Arabia. The other is a JV involving a government entity and Europe’s Wizz Air. ◄