Ryanair is looking to replace Lauda’s Airbus aircraft with equivalents from the Boeing 737 family. Ryanair has been a long-time major customer of Boeing’s 737 jets. However, subsidiary Lauda has, for the time being, remained operating Airbus A320 family aircraft.
Ryanair is synonymous with the Boeing 737 family. Indeed, the group’s entire fleet across four of its five airlines solely consists of the 737. Despite this, Lauda operates the A320 family, something which predates its acquisition by Ryanair. The Irish low-cost carrier’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, has now hinted that the airline group is looking to align its entire fleet.
According to an interview with Reuters, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary has said that the airline group is looking to move back to a single fleet type, a move that mostly makes sense for the carrier, but has a few disadvantages. He told Reuters that almost all Airbus deliveries due to Lauda would be canceled.
“I think Lauda will have a fleet of about 30 Airbus aircraft – we would probably replace those Airbus with Boeing over the next couple of years.”
The roadblock in the way of such a deal would be the current state of Boeing 737 MAX deliveries. Ryanair’s pre-crisis growth had been significantly hampered by a lack of deliveries of the type.
Why does such a move make sense?
All in all, as a low-cost airline, it makes sense for Ryanair to ditch Lauda’s Airbus aircraft in favor of an all Boeing fleet. By maintaining a single fleet type, Ryanair can keep costs down. Staff only need to be rated on one aircraft type, and only one backlog of spare parts must be maintained.
Ryanair has a large inventory of spare aircraft parts at its London Stansted hub. These can be quickly dispatched across Europe with an engineer, should they be required. However, by operating a small fleet of Airbus aircraft, the airline is also expected to hold extra spare parts, which increases the airline’s costs.
Additionally, having the Airbus A320 family means that the low-cost carrier is required to hire a different pool of engineers and pilots to work on this fleet. This increases costs, especially in regards to the engineers, as a whole new team is required.
There is, however, a drawback to only operating a single aircraft type. This is currently being seen with the Boeing 737 MAX. If it’s grounded, you have nothing to fall back on. Ryanair’s expansion has already ground to a halt due to the lack of 737 MAX deliveries.
However, while an extreme scenario, imagine the whole fleet was grounded, even for just a few days, like SWISS’ Airbus A220 family was briefly last year. While SWISS was able to use its other aircraft, Ryanair would be left unable to operate any flights.
Do you think Ryanair should swap Lauda’s Airbus A320 family aircraft for Boeing 737 MAXs? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!