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Ryanair Holdings Plc predicted that its customers will embrace Boeing Co.’s stricken 737 Max jetliner once the model returns to service after being grounded in the wake of two air crashes in five months.
“We see no indication yet from passengers of any concern about the Max aircraft,” Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary told Bloomberg TV in an interview in New York on Monday. Once passengers fly on the plane “they will love it, and it will be a massive success for Boeing,” he said.
Europe’s biggest discount airline had been due to get the first Max of 135 on order in April, but deliveries were frozen after the deadly loss of an Ethiopian Airlines plane on March 10 highlighted concerns about an anti-stall system. O’Leary said he expects the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to return the jet to service in June or July after the approval of fixes, followed by the European Aviation Safety Agency a month later.
Ryanair now anticipates receiving five Max jets from October for its winter schedule, and to subsequently catch up with all 44 deliveries due for summer 2020. With 4 percent more seats and 16 percent greater fuel efficiency versus the previous 737 model, O’Leary said the re-engined plane will “transform the airline for the next five or six years.”
The CEO said the Max crisis also presents an “interesting opportunity” to talk with the U.S. manufacturer about further purchases. Boeing “need to put in place some aircraft orders,” he said. “Airbus are wiping the floor with them at the moment.”
— With assistance from David Westin and Alix Steel.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.