Ryanair is to meet with Boeing to discuss its proposed re-engined 737 as the budget carrier prepares to send a delegation to China to assess the feasibility of developing the Comac C919 as a 200-seat twinjet.
Chief executive Michael O'Leary, while somewhat dismayed at Boeing's re-engining decision, has not ruled the airframer out of talks even as the airline talks up the potential of the C919.
"I'm not a great fan of re-engining," he said. "I think they should have redesigned the aircraft, made it bigger and [moved] a step-change ahead of Airbus.
"It strikes us that they're running somewhat [behind] the Airbus [A320neo] at the moment. But they can always catch up, and the best way to catch up would be to drop the price of the aircraft. And we'd be very happy to work with them if that's what they have in mind."
O'Leary said the US company had promised it would update the carrier on the timetable and benefits of a re-engined jet.
However, he added that he was "extraordinarily impressed" with the Chinese manufacturer, which signed a tentative co-operation agreement with the carrier.
"In a series of four meetings they've responded very quickly and favourably to every request we've made of them," O'Leary said, adding that Ryanair is sending a team to China around October to "advance our discussions" on a possible 200-seat version of the C919.
"There's been some kind of concerns about all Chinese aircraft but this is a glorified Airbus sub-assembled in China," O'Leary said.
"Some 80% of the components are Western-made. It has Western engines, Rockwell avionics, and the Chinese have assembled almost everything else that the West consumes at the moment, so I don't have any issue with the aircraft," he added.