Ryanair sees Comac ready to listen as talks continue

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Talks between Ryanair and Chinese airframer Comac about a possible order remain in the early stages and any resultant deliveries would be "towards the end of this decade" at the earliest, the airline's chief financial officer said today.

Outlining the status of negotiations with Comac during Ryanair's first quarter results conference, Howard Millar said the airline is nearing the end of deliveries from its long-standing Boeing 737-800 order and is yet to strike a new aircraft deal. Last year it agreed to work with Comac on the design of its C919 aircraft.

Asked what advantages Comac might bring over Boeing and Airbus, Millar said the Chinese manufacturer is more willing to alter design plans to accommodate Ryanair's requirements.

"They are willing to listen to what we want," he says. "A plane that's manufactured by Boeing or Airbus is a one-size-fits-all, whereas what we want is a really efficient low-cost aircraft." He cites Ryanair's request for wider doorframes to facilitate faster boarding and disembarking as one such modification which Comac is considering.

"If two people can walk through the door, so the door's wider, we could actually get people on and off the aircraft quicker," Millar says, emphasising the benefits of faster turnaround times.