Ryanair’s CEO Expresses Concern Over Boeing’s Quality, Anticipates More Delays

Michael O'Leary, the CEO of Ryanair, expressed his concern about the shortcomings identified by U.S. regulators in their report on the Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 accident, which are expected to slow down Boeing's production with increased regulatory supervision. Ryanair, which is Europe's largest airline in terms of passenger numbers and one of Boeing's biggest customers, has purchased more than 350 MAX planes over the past few years but has no MAX 9 aircraft in its fleet. 


According to a preliminary report by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, a door plug that came off an Alaska Airlines MAX 9 jet in mid-flight on January 5 was found to be missing four key bolts. O'Leary said that this incident highlights poor production quality with Boeing and raises concerns about the safety of their aircraft. However, he believes that there is no immediate threat to Ryanair's Boeing 737 fleet or the MAX 8 planes that they operate. 


O'Leary added that the last 12 aircraft Ryanair received in October-December showed improvements in quality from earlier in the year. However, he believes that Boeing still has more work to do to ensure the production of high-quality planes. O'Leary also expressed his concern that the increased regulatory supervision by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in Seattle will slow down production, and it is unclear whether it will impact Ryanair's deliveries between now and the end of June. A Boeing spokesperson said that the company is taking action on a comprehensive plan to improve their quality and delivery performance in response to the Alaska Airlines incident and after a supplier discovered mis-drilled holes on some fuselages. They also stated that Ryanair is a valued customer, and they are working closely with them to address their concerns. 

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O'Leary also welcomed the recent court ruling by Europe's second highest court, which annulled the European Commission's revised 2021 decision approving the state aid. He believes that competition regulators had erred by not taking into account other beneficiaries within the airline group. O'Leary criticized the EU competition authorities' incompetence and called for the resignation of Margrethe Vestager, the commissioner for competition. The EU executive stated that they would review the ruling and consider possible next steps.

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