Delay in new Ryanair aircraft to hit Britain-Ireland routes

Budget airline confirms reduction of 17 Boeing Max aircraft, having expected 57 by the end of June

Ryanair has confirmed it will only receive 40 Boeing Max jets before the end of June rather than the 57 originally anticipated, forcing the airline to reduce flight frequencies across its network.

The airline’s chief executive Michael O’Leary has said this could affect flights to Britain from Dublin this year.

Although the carrier has said it will not axe any routes, it may be forced to reduce daily frequencies to London and provincial centres, such as Manchester and Glasgow.

As a result of the delays, the carrier’s annual passenger forecast will drop to just under 200 million, compared with a previous goal of 205 million for the fiscal full year ending March 2025, according to a statement on Friday.


Ryanair has already put some cutbacks in Dublin as well as in Milan Malpensa and Warsaw Modlin, which Mr O’Leary has said are higher-cost airports.

Boeing was thrown into turmoil in early January after a panel on a 737 Max 9 jet operated by Alaska Airlines blew off shortly after take-off.

The incident forced Boeing to slow its output as regulators review quality controls and customers scrutinise the plane-maker. Even before the incident, Boeing had trouble sticking to delivery schedules agreed with Ryanair.

“We are very disappointed at these latest Boeing delivery delays,” the Irish budget carrier said in the release, although Mr O’Leary said Boeing management continued to have his “wholehearted” support.

Ryanair will work with Boeing to take deliveries from July to September, but the airline said it won’t be able to sell seats on these aircraft this summer because of the uncertainty around the delays.

Ryanair declined as much as 1 per cent in Dublin trading. The stock has gained about 4.9 per cent in value this year.

Separately, Mr O’Leary maintained his criticism of the 32-million passenger cap at Dublin Airport, saying it will stymie the airline’s Irish growth plans.

The airline boss said on Thursday he was willing to meet Transport Minister Eamon Ryan next week to discuss the controversial cap, which has sparked angry exchanges between the pair since the start of the year.

Mr O’Leary confirmed the minister had written to him seeking a meeting next week, which he told reporters he was willing to take up, although he repeated calls on Mr Ryan and his Green Party Cabinet colleague, Catherine Martin, to “scrap the gap or go”.

He wants either minister to intervene to raise the cap, or to introduce legislation increasing it on an interim basis while airport operator, DAA, waits for Fingal County Council to adjudicate on its application to extend it to 40 million.

Ryanair and other carriers fear that it could take four years or more for a final decision on this application, meaning the cap will apply until that point at least.

Mr O’Leary argued that Dublin Airport was the main gateway to the Republic, so the decision should not be left to a handful of councillors in Fingal.

The limit, imposed on Dublin Airport as a condition of operating its new north runway, will stall most of Ryanair’s plans for the Republic, which its chief executive said could boost the airline’s traffic in its home market to 30 million in 2030 from 20 million currently.

If the limit were lifted or increased, most of that growth could come at Dublin, where the carrier wants to increase passengers to 20 million a-year by 2030 from 15.7 million now, and add seven new aircraft, bringing its total there to 40.

Mr O’Leary said that the passenger cap meant that Dublin was one of just three airports where the airline would not grow this year, as well as Slovakia and Serbia.

He argued that “the transport minister is failing to implement his own aviation policy”, which is to grow air travel in the Republic. Meanwhile, he maintained that Ms Martin, Minister for Tourism, was more focused on RTÉ.

Mr O’Leary denied that his criticisms of Mr Ryan were personal, saying they were “fair comment” and a “statement of fact”. – Additional reporting: Bloomberg

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas