After months of speculation, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has confirmed that subsidiary carrier Lauda will move over to an all-Boeing fleet. Lauda currently has a fleet of leased A320s but will move to a fleet of Boeing 737 MAX.
When Ryanair took over Lauda several years ago, it suddenly had to contend with Airbus aircraft. Ryanair famously operates a large all-Boeing 737 fleet while Lauda has a fleet of second-hand, leased Airbus A320s. Almost immediately, Michael O’Leary began talking about upgrading and changing Lauda’s fleet. Much to everyone’s surprise, he seemed interested in A320s and A321neos.
However, O’Leary seems to have fallen back on Boeing as aeroTELEGRAPH reports that the airline will phase out its Airbus aircraft over the next three to four years. In place of the Airbus fleet will be a brand-new fleet of 737 MAX 10s. Ryanair is reportedly in talks for 100 new 737 MAX 10s, and it looks like they will be going to Lauda.
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Ryanair and the 737 MAX
Ryanair has bet big on Boeing. It has over 200 737 MAX on order for its own fleet. Now it seems O’Leary is also relying on the aircraft for Lauda. Although O’Leary is clearly not against operating Airbus aircraft, it seems that the price of Boeing just cannot be matched by Airbus.
In previous conversations about the future of the Lauda fleet, O’Leary confirmed price was the major factor. However, it is possible that O’Leary was simply talking about Airbus to encourage Boeing to offer a better price. Ryanair is likely getting a good deal on ordering more MAX aircraft after agreeing on compensation with Boeing for the MAX groundings. As a result, could Airbus really compete on price when Ryanair is so tightly tied to Boeing at the moment?
The future of Lauda
Ryanair officially took over total control of Lauda in early 2019, having slowly increased its shares since investing the previous year. The low-cost carrier is based in Austria and operates flights across Europe. Until Ryanair took control, the airline was arguably stagnating.
But with Ryanair’s backing, a whole new future has opened up to the airline. Despite the global downturn last year, Lauda has announced multiple new routes and increased capacity on routes across Europe.
Clearly, the market demand is there. Ryanair’s new base at Zagreb Airport will open in July, two months ahead of schedule due to high demand. Ryanair unsurprisingly chose Lauda to operate flights from Zagreb. For the foreseeable future, flights will be operated using the airline’s existing fleet of A320s.
If O’Leary is planning on ordering 100 Boeing 737 MAX for Lauda, he clearly has big plans for the airline’s growth over the coming years. Currently, the airline operates a fleet of fewer than 30 aircraft. And by the looks of recent reports, the new Lauda fleet will consist of the new Boeing 737 MAX 10, which can seat 230 passengers. However, it is looking like Boeing won’t deliver its first MAX 10 aircraft until 2023. So, the next few years look like big plans once again put on hold, waiting for Boeing.
What do you think of the plan for Lauda? Do you think the airline will end up with a fleet of 100 aircraft? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.