January 3, 2020 / 10:05 AM / in 7 months

Ryanair CEO says group may not get 737 MAX until October: report

FILE PHOTO: Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary speaks during a Reuters Newsmaker event in London, Britain October 1, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

BERLIN (Reuters) - Ryanair (RYA.I) may only receive its first delivery of the grounded 737 MAX aircraft from Boeing (BA.N) in October, chief executive Michael O’Leary said in an interview with German magazine Wirtschaftswoche.

The 737 MAX, Boeing’s fastest-selling aircraft, has not flown since last March following two crashes which claimed 346 lives. O’Leary told Reuters last month that Ryanair may not receive any MAX aircraft in time for its summer season.

One of the world’s largest airlines, Ryanair has 135 of the planes on order, but none in service. O’Leary has previously said it would not take orders in July or August because it is the airline’s busiest time of the year.

“We were meant to have 58 planes by the summer,” O’Leary said in the interview, extracts from which were published on Friday. “That went down to 30, then 20, then 10 and the latest is maybe only five. It’s possible we’ll only get the first jets in October 2020.”

United Airlines last month extended the grounding of its in-service MAX flights until June, the longest period that any U.S. carrier has scheduled for keeping the aircraft out of service.

Boeing has been criticised by regulators, suppliers and airlines for providing what have turned out to be unrealistic estimates for the model returning to service and said last month that it was freezing 737 production in January.

In contrast to other airlines which have already agreed compensation with Boeing, including Turkish (THYAO.IS), Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) and Germany’s TUI (TUIGn.DE), O’Leary said he would only discuss recompense after the planes were delivered.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Additional reporting by Padraic Halpin in Dublin; Editing by Thomas Seythal and Jan Harvey

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