Ryanair may again consider acquiring second-hand narrowbodies as it expects increased availability of used Boeing 737s returned by anticipated casualties in the European low-cost carrier segment. The carrier also says it expects to have re-worded all of its contentious deals with public airports to bring them in line with European law by the end of April.

Chief executive Michael O'Leary says he expects there to be a surplus of 737s and Airbus A320s on the market before the end of the year as a series of no-frills new entrants leave the market "either by bankruptcy, merger or acquisition". The airline would consider taking secondhand 737-300s or -400s from any such retiring carrier, if the price were low enough. Ryanair took delivery of its 51st 189-seat 737-800 last month and to date has 155 confirmed -800 orders with 123 options over the next six years.

Retirement of six of the carrier's remaining fleet of 15 737-200s will take place by the end of this year. There are believed to be certain routes that would benefit from the 149-seat -300 or 168-seat -400 and Ryanair operates six 737-300s with its Buzz Stansted subsidiary. O'Leary says integration of further smaller Next Generation 737 models would be no problem.

Meanwhile, O'Leary also says the airline has amended around 14 of the 20 deals with publicly owned airports that might contravene European state-aid rules. He warns that if airport operators use this as a excuse to raise fees Ryanair will cancel the deals.


Source: Flight International