Boeing
Boeing737 Max Ryanair K66688 1540

Boeing Loses 737 MAX Order in Price Dispute

Sept. 7, 2021
Europe’s largest budget airline apparently canceled its order for 75 new aircraft, with the CEO claiming Boeing has a “more optimistic outlook on aircraft pricing than we do.”

Ryanair, Europe’s largest budget airline and one Boeing’s largest customers, is backing off from its interest in purchasing up to 250 new 737 MAX aircraft over a price dispute, as reported by Reuters. The 737 MAX 10 is a new, larger model of the twin-engine, narrow-body aircraft, not yet in commercial service but also slated to be operated by United Airlines.

"We are disappointed we couldn’t reach agreement," Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary said, Reuters reported. "However, Boeing have a more optimistic outlook on aircraft pricing than we do, and we have a disciplined track record of not paying high prices for aircraft."

A Boeing spokesman also claimed the manufacturer is maintaining “discipline” in its pricing, while working in the interests of its customers and the company.

Ryanair is one of the world’s largest operators of the 737-800 (the preceding design of the current model) and was the “launch customer” for the 737 MAX 8 with an order for 100 aircraft in 2014. That was followed with an order for 10 more 737 MAX 8s in 2017, and then 25 more in 2018. It is projected to be the largest 737 MAX operator in the EU.

In December 2020, the airline and the OEM announced that Ryanair would exercise its option to buy 75 new 737 MAX jets, which would include a new design variant, the MAX 8200, that will seat up to 200 passengers in a single-class.

Some market analysts project that Ryanair’s public announcement is a negotiating tactic to force Boeing to lower its price – knowing the company’s need to restore the competitiveness of the 737 MAX series. However, Boeing also has large orders for new 737 MAX jets in its books from Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.

At the same time, if Ryanair shifts its acquisition to alternative models (e.g., the Airbus A321neo) it could complicate schedule for replacing aircraft or expanding the fleet, as well as the maintenance practices.

Ryanair is one of the world’s largest operators of the 737-800 (the preceding design of the current model) and was the “launch customer” for the 737 MAX 8 with an order for 100 aircraft in 2014. That was followed with an order for 10 more 737 MAX 8s in 2017, and then 25 more in 2018. It is projected to be the largest 737 MAX operator in the EU.

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