Ryanair will have to hack its own winter schedule, deleting flights from Belgian, German, Dublin, East Midlands, Portuguese and Italian airports from the end of October, because Boeing has missed delivery targets for new aircraft, the Irish carrier has announced.
Forecasts may be revised down again
Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers, Ryanair was expecting 27 new aircraft in 2023’s last quarter, but announced last week that production delays mean it will receive just two-thirds of the delivery, from a month late, between October and December instead.
One of Boeing’s most important customers, with a multibillion dollar order of 300 aircraft placed earlier this year, the Irish carrier has complained repeatedly about delivery delays that affected summer 2023. It was forced to revise its full-year passenger forecast down by 1.5 million to 183.5 million in July, blaming both air traffic strikes and Boeing for not meeting delivery targets.
Although the carrier has not yet revised next year’s forecast, it has warned it may have to do so if attempts to speed up deliveries of the full 57 aircraft it is expecting between January and May 2024 do not come to fruition.
“We think there may be some delays into next summer, but on a small number of aircraft,” Eddie Wilson, the head of Ryanair DAC, the largest airline in the group has said.
Unsustainable contracts and production flaws
Having incurred the wrath of CEO Michael O’Leary, relations and operations seemed to be running more smoothly until Boeing revealed a parts problem last month to do with misaligned fastener holes on the aft pressure bulkhead of its best-selling 737 MAX. The issue means “75% of the 220 737s in Boeing’s inventory will need rework” Reuters has reported.
Boeing has also had problems with tail brackets, with both production flaws originating at the Spirit Fuselage facility in Wichita, Kansas.
Spirit Aerosystems appears to be proving a thorn in Boeing’s side, with Spirit CEO Tom Gentile complaining last month that its contracts with Boeing are “not sustainable” and calling on the manufacturer to absorb some of the financial pain of rising inflation and parts costs. Spirit share were down by 7.3 % after the complaint.
Autumn schedule changes
Ryanair shares on the other hand are up 28% this year.
Meanwhile customers this autumn await further news. Any flight cancellations or cuts to winter schedules will not be happening until the end of October, Ryanair has confirmed, and all affected flyers should receive an email notification “over the coming days” with the information they need to make alternative arrangements.