Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary told CNBC on Monday he is confident that Boeing’s grounded 737 Maxes will resume flights this summer. But he said the grounding after two deadly crashes has hurt business.
Europe’s largest discount airline, which ordered 135 Max 200 models with the option for 75 more, had been expecting to receive its first five between April and June but now expects them to be flying by November.
For the airline, the addition of 737 Max jets had been projected to have added 1 million new passengers this summer alone. Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary has said he expects the airline to benefit from any price war in the industry.
Mr O’Leary said “artificially low prices” and “attritional fare wars” could dent profits for a year or two.
He was speaking after the airline reported that profits fell by nearly a third last year to €1bn (£880m) because fuel costs rose and fares fell. Profits at Europe’s biggest discount airline might also be lower this year, as fares could fall by up to 2%.
For last year, Ryanair’s average one-way fare was €37, down 6%, although this was offset by spending on services such as hotels and car hire. For the current financial year, the carrier said it was “cautious” on pricing and had “zero” visibility for the second half of the year.