Exclusive-Ryanair’s O’Leary ups pressure on Boeing with meeting in Dublin

By Thomson Reuters Mar 20, 2024 | 7:51 AM

By Joanna Plucinska

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said on Wednesday he will meet with senior Boeing executives later in the day in Dublin to discuss prolonged delays in plane deliveries as a crisis at the U.S. planemaker deepens.

Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of an aviation conference, he said he will also discuss the certification of Boeing’s 737 MAX 10 aircraft and ongoing issues with oversight following the Jan. 5 mid-air loss of a panel on a new Alaska Airlines MAX 9.

The meeting will be with the “highest levels of management” at Boeing, he said, without identifying who.

“We are working closely with Boeing. (…) Boeing are still producing great aircraft, but there’s no doubt in our mind that on the shop floor, the systems and the quality control in Seattle need to be improved,” he said, referring to Boeing’s main manufacturing hub in Washington.

He said the budget airline, Boeing’s largest European customer, has regular meetings with its plane supplier and believes things will start to improve as regulators ramp up scrutiny of the company.

“They’re being (…) heavily regulated at the moment by the Congress, the FAA are crawling all over them. That doesn’t help monthly production. But frankly, it’s that kind of oversight it needs,” he said.

Last month, O’Leary warned the carrier may have to cut its summer schedule, the busiest time of the year, due to delays in receiving new aircraft.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the meeting.

(Reporting by Joanna Plucinska in BRUSSELS; additional reporting by Allison Lampert in MONTREAL; writing by Josephine Mason in LONDON; editing by Mark Potter)