Ryanair expects to be seven Boeing 737 Max jets short of its pre-summer delivery target, but the carrier has observed an improvement in quality of the aircraft arriving from the airframer.

The budget carrier had 136 737 Max aircraft in its fleet at the end of the third quarter, 31 December 2023, and expects this to rise to 174 by late June, ahead of the summer peak months.

Ryanair says this is seven 737s short of contracted deliveries. It was due to receive 57 aircraft by April this year but instead expects 50 by June, and adds: “There remains a risk that some of these deliveries could slip further.”

It also believes short-haul capacity in Europe will lag last year’s figures as a result of the Pratt & Whitney engine issues affecting Airbus A320neo-family jets.

Ryanair expects this engine-related disruption will continue into 2026.

The carrier received 12 737 Max 8s – it uses a high-density version called the Max 8-200 – over the third quarter.

Ryanair 737 Max-c-Ryanair

Source: Ryanair

Ryanair 737 Max 8-200 deliveries are running behind the contract schedule

It says it will work with Boeing to minimise delivery delays and improve quality control, following the Alaska Airlines incident in which a 737 Max 9 shed a door plug during flight.

“While the recent Max 9 grounding was a disappointing setback, we don’t expect it to affect the Max 8 fleet or the Max certification,” says Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary.

“We have run extra checks on our recent 737 deliveries and have noted improvements in quality with fewer delivery defects.”

While supporting Boeing management’s efforts to resolve the issues, O’Leary says the company has “more work to do” to improve quality and reduce delays.

Ryanair still has deliveries of 737 Max 8s pending before the end of fiscal 2025 and it has also ordered up to 300 Max 10s for delivery over 2027-33.

The airline turned in an operating loss of €19 million ($20.6 million) for the third quarter, as higher fuel and personnel costs meant operating expenditure was slightly above the carrier’s revenues of €2.7 billion for the three months.

Ryanair’s net profit for the quarter reached €15 million.

It has narrowed its full-year net profit forecast, trimming back the upper range, and expects a figure of €1.85-1.95 billion.