[Fox Business] Airline may raise fares 10%, cut summer flights due to Boeing delays

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Ryanair is warning it may have to raise prices for flights and cut some routes from its summer flight offerings due to delays with Boeing 737 Max production that will leave it with fewer aircraft than expected at its busiest time of the year.

The Dublin, Ireland-based airline said it was slated to receive 57 Boeing 8200 aircraft, which are a variant of the 737 Max, before the end of April but was notified by Boeing over a week ago that it will receive around 50 of the airliners by the end of June. 

The situation remains in flux and Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary indicated that the company remains unsure how many aircraft it will receive in the next few months.

“We really don’t know how many aircraft we’re going to get from Boeing,” O’Leary said at a media briefing on Friday. “We’re pretty sure we’re going to get 30 to 40. We’re reasonably confident we’re between 40 and 45. And now we are far less confident we’re going to get between 45 and 50.”

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“If we only get 40, by the end of March we will have to announce some minor schedule cuts,” O’Leary added. That would mean Ryanair would likely carry only 200 million passengers for the financial year beginning in April versus the 205 million previously forecast.

He added that some of the costs of delays will be passed on to consumers, with prices likely to rise 5% to 10% this summer and that average fares could rise by 10 to 15 euros in the next five years.

Boeing’s manufacturing lines are under heightened regulatory oversight in the wake of the Jan. 5 midair panel blowout of a 737 Max 9 during an Alaska Airlines flight, with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) preventing the company from expanding production of the aircraft. 

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Boeing told FOX Business in a statement, “We are communicating with customers that some delivery schedules may change as we take the necessary time to make sure that every airplane we deliver is high quality and meets all customer and regulatory requirements.”

“We deeply regret the impact this is having on our valued customer Ryanair. We’re working to address their concerns and taking action on a comprehensive plan to strengthen 737 quality and deliver performance,” Boeing’s statement concluded.

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O’Leary indicated that Ryanair is discussing some financial compensation with Boeing over the delays and offered a stinging critique of the aerospace giant.

“There’s a s—show going on in Seattle. They keep giving us optimistic, broken promises. And then a week or two weeks later… it turns out that reality is worse,” O’Leary said. 

“It’s inexcusable. Boeing will try to claim that it’s excusable. I think we (will) get some modest compensation out of Boeing,” O’Leary said. “At this point our focus is getting the bloody airplanes.”

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His comments come days after Boeing replaced 737 program head Ed Clark with Katie Ringgold, who led 737 delivery operations.

Ryanair may be interested in buying Boeing 737 Max 10 aircraft if United Airlines or other carriers cancel their orders for the aircraft. 

“I’d be delighted to take them as long as they get the right price. It would give us some growth in 2027 or 2028,” O’Leary said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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