New Ryanair narrowbodies not likely until 2015/16: Millar

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The earliest Ryanair would be looking to take a new batch of narrowbodies from a major new order would potentially be in 2015 or 2016, Howard Millar, the carrier's chief financial officer, told Air Transport Intelligence at the ISTAT Europe air finance conference in Barcelona.

"We have a pause for several years," said Millar, repeating the carrier's strategy to peg its historically double-digit growth rate to single-digit numbers.

However, the airline will seek to take new aircraft, some to replace older Boeing 737s and some for expansion, in around five years, he said. Any requirement or order will not be at the same high-order volume of the past, he added.

Ryanair is not worried about getting access to new aircraft in this timeframe, despite the strong order backlogs of both Airbus and Boeing. "The market is oversold," said Millar. "I struggle to see where all those aircraft [on order] will go."

"Any carrier that has a significant delivery book will find it hard to deploy [them all]," he said.

For its part, Ryanair is coming to the end of its 737 delivery schedule with Boeing, and while Millar acknowledges market worries about the cost of financing, much of the finance for his deliveries is secured.

"Aircraft financing [cost] is going to increase but luckily we are at the tail end of our delivery programme. We have 40 deliveries to come in the next 15 months and have financed 29 of them up to April 2012," said Millar.

These 29 aircraft have been financed with a mix of Ex-Im Bank financing and sale-and-leaseback transactions, he said, with both mechanisms likely to be used for the final 11 737s.

Along with many other airlines, Millar is waiting for more details of Boeing's 737 Max, but Ryanair's view remains that the manufacturers should have done things to make the existing models cheaper or taken the technology leap to an all-new narrowbody, rather than re-engine the current types.

"The question to ask is whether all of this development is worth doing unless it shows significant unit reductions in cost to the airlines - so far we have not seen that," said Millar.