Fares can go up by 10% due to aircraft glitches

Ryanair predicts a potential increase of up to 10% in peak summer airfares in Europe this year due to ongoing issues with Boeing and Airbus aircraft. The problems at the manufacturers have caused a surge in demand for seats. This anticipated rise comes after a significant post-pandemic increase in holiday flight prices last year, when high demand collided with limited capacity in European airlines.

Michael O’Leary, the CEO of the Irish budget airline, stated that they may need to adjust their summer schedules, originally planned around the expected delivery of 50 out of 57 Boeing Max 737-8200s. Delays in production and deliveries, caused by quality control issues at Boeing, might result in fewer aircraft being available. O’Leary mentioned that the summer 2024 schedule was designed with 50 aircraft in mind, and if they only receive 40 to 45 by the end of March, schedule cuts, especially on high-frequency routes, might be necessary.

The slowdown in production at Boeing is exacerbated by issues with Pratt & Whitney engines on Airbus A320 planes, leading to grounded aircraft at airlines like Wizz Air and Lufthansa. O’Leary explained that the EU shorthaul capacity, currently operating at only 90% of pre-Covid levels, will be restricted throughout the summer.

The CEO acknowledged that the average fares in summer 2023 rose by 17%, but they are budgeting for a 5-10% fare increase for the upcoming summer. He attributed part of the higher fares to problems with Pratt & Whitney engines and the overall constrained capacity in the European market.

O’Leary also expressed concerns about the quality control at Boeing, revealing issues discovered during inspections of recent aircraft deliveries. He emphasized the need for Boeing to address these quality and production standards, stating that spending $100 million on a plane should guarantee impeccable condition.

Negotiations for compensation due to delivery delays are ongoing between Ryanair and Boeing. The aircraft manufacturer acknowledged the impact on Ryanair and expressed regret while working on a comprehensive plan to enhance 737 quality and delivery performance.

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