Ryanair hopes to increase its fleet of Boeing 737 Max jets to 158 by the end of July this year, although this will be 23 aircraft short of the initial delivery schedule.

The airline gave the figure as it turned in a full-year net profit of €1.92 billion ($2.09 billion), up by one-third on the previous year.

Revenues for 2023-24 increased by 25% to €13.4 billion, and average fares were up 21% following a strong first half and Easter holiday traffic in March 2024.

Higher fuel and staff costs, as well as the Boeing delivery delays, contributed to a 24% rise in full-year operating costs to €11.38 billion.

Ryanair had 146 737 Max jets in its fleet at the end of the fiscal year on 31 March, having received 48 over the 12-month period.

“We do expect to get those [delayed] deliveries – Boeing to catch up with those deliveries – by the end of October,” says chief executive Michael O’Leary. “Which will give us at least 20 new aircraft growth for summer 2025.”

Ryanair expects to have 181 737 Max aircraft by the end of November. Boeing is also contracted to deliver another 29 over January-April 2025, and these are “currently on track”, the carrier states.

“We may well be looking at a summer in 2025 where we’ve another 50 aircraft worth of growth,” says O’Leary.

Ryanair says it welcomes the recent management changes at Boeing intended to address the delivery situation.

“We continue to work closely with [Boeing management] to improve quality and accelerate [737 Max] aircraft deliveries,” says the carrier. “There remains a risk that Boeing deliveries could slip further.”

Ryanair Max 8-200-c-Ryanair

Source: Ryanair

Ryanair expects to have 158 737 Max 8-200s in its fleet for the summer peak

Ryanair says it aims to offer “as much growth as possible” for the summer 2024 season, but the delays means a greater quantity of traffic growth will fall into the lower-yielding second half of the year, from the end of September.

It has extended leases on three Airbus A320s from its Austrian operation Lauda. These will run to 2028.

Ryanair also aims to continue taking delivery of 737s through the July-September period.

While it aims to increase passenger numbers this year to 198-200 million, up from 183.7 million, it says this depends on Boeing deliveries returning to contracted levels before the year-end.

While first-quarter pricing has been “softer than we expected”, Ryanair is “cautiously optimistic” that peak summer fares will be “flat to modestly-ahead” of last year, but the fourth quarter will not benefit from an early Easter holiday period.

Ryanair says it currently cannot provide “sensible or accurate” full-year guidance for 2024-25.