Ryanair is a devoted customer of Boeing 737, as the type is the only type of aircraft it flies. Well, almost the only type of aircraft it flies. As a small exception to the rule stands Laudamotion, the airline which still operates Airbus aircraft leftover from its Air Berlin times. Now, Ryanair is getting determined to get rid of the odd planes.
Ryanair Group airlines together operate a massive fleet of 467 aircraft, in which 26 Lauda’s A320s stand out as oddity among the 440 Boeing 737s. The A320s came to the group together with Lauda Motion ‒ an airline which Ryanair acquired in 2018, after its previous parent Air Berlin went bankrupt the previous year.
Since then, Lauda retired its original Airbus planes, but grew the fleet over twice in size to the current number of 26 leased A320-200s. The carrier added 21 planes in 2019, and three more in 2020. The airline (presumably via leasing companies) has orders for 27 more A320 and A321 aircraft with the European manufacturer.
On May 1, 2020, Ryanair told investors that it was looking for ways to cut new aircraft deliveries over the next 24 months; including the Laudamotion’s order. “We are in active negotiations with both Boeing, and Laudamotion’s A320 lessors to cut the number of planned aircraft deliveries over the next 24 months, which could reduce our capex commitments, to more accurately reflect a slower and more distorted EU air travel market in a post Covid-19 world.”
Now, the company’s CEO Michaeol O’Leary repeated the message even more directly by telling Reuters about the plans to cancel the better part of the order. In an interview published on May 12, 2020, O’Leary said that Lauda’s fleet would only grow to approximately 30 Airbus aircraft, meaning that the vast majority of the planes would be unneeded.
Furthermore, Ryanair Group could once again become all Boeing 737 operators, O’Leary hinted. “[…] we would probably replace those Airbus with Boeing over the next couple of years,” the CEO is cited as saying, adding that aircraft replacement remains subject to its negotiations with Boeing over the 737 MAX compensation.