Ryanair group chief executive Michael O’Leary would be open to ordering Airbus A320s – provided the European manufacturer can come up with the right offer.
“The A320 is a great aircraft,” he told Cirium at the A4E aviation summit in Brussels, although he stresses that so too is the Boeing 737 Max.
“The Airbus aircraft are more expensive than the Boeing aircraft, so [A320 operator] Lauda makes less money than Ryanair does,” says O’Leary. “Also, there’s more intense competition in Vienna. Ultimately, the difference is like that between the Toyota Corolla and the Volkswagen Golf – they both fulfil exactly the same function, the question is which can you buy cheaper.”
O’Leary, who reveals that he “took a call” from Airbus last week, adds: “I would talk to Airbus and Boeing if the price was right and the slots came up.”
Asked whether he expected Ryanair to have any Airbus aircraft in its fleet in 10 years’ time, he responded: “I doubt it, but I think there’s every chance we’ll have Airbus aircraft in the Lauda fleet.”
Ryanair has 50 Max jets on order, but deliveries have been delayed by the aircraft’s grounding, forcing the airline to scale back its expansion plans. It will now not take delivery of its first Max until winter 2020. Despite this, O’Leary recently said that the airline is in discussions to purchase more of the jets.