All newly delivered 737s undergo our own 48-hour inspection says Ryanair CEO

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The CEO of Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, has given an interview in which he said that the airline has held growing concerns over quality issues with newly built Boeing aircraft over the past 18 months.  

In an interview with US broadcaster CNN, Michael O’Leary stated that Ryanair first became aware of a general decline in quality standards of new 737 MAX planes as far back as 2022 following the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“We were finding little things like tools under the floorboards, in some cases, seat handles missing, things like that,” O’Leary told CNN. “This shows a lack of attention to detail, quality issues in Boeing,” the CEO added. 

According to O’Leary, having become increasingly concerned over such issues, Ryanair has been in constant contact with Boeing “at the most senior levels” to communicate its concerns. 

“We’ve been saying for 18 months, both publicly and privately to Boeing, that quality control post-COVID as they got back making aircraft has not been acceptable and needs to be improved,” said O’Leary. 

O’Leary added that Ryanair inspects all new 737 MAX aircraft delivered to the airline at its own maintenance facilities in Dublin, Ireland before they enter commercial service with the carrier. These checks last around 48 hours and the aircraft is only released for service once given the all-clear by Ryanair engineers.   

“We’re not willing to put an aircraft into service at Ryanair unless we’ve fully satisfied that everything’s there and as it should be,” he said. “It is not acceptable that aircraft get delivered at less than 100%.” 

Ryanair Boeing 737 MAX 8-200 REG 9H-VUV
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O’Leary’s comments come as Boeing continues to be the subject of intense scrutiny from the public and aviation authorities in the US following a series of high-profile incidents which started with the Alaska Airlines blowout incident in January 2024.  

But despite launching into his scathing indictment of Boeing in the interview, O’Leary did have some conciliatory words for the beleaguered planemaker. O’Leary shared that the 12 aircraft that Ryanair received from Boeing between October and December 2023 were “the best deliveries ever”. 

According to ch-aviation, Ryanair still has 214 aircraft in its order books, 64 of which are 737 MAX 8-200 plus 150 of the stretched 737 MAX 10, whose certification has been repeatedly delayed.  

So far in 2024, Ryanair has received six 737 MAX aircraft, while Malta Air, another airline in the Ryanair Group, has received three. At the end of 2023, O’Leary told reporters that the airline expected that Boeing would deliver 57 new 737s to the carrier by the end of April 2024. However, this number has since been downgraded to the low 40s, frustrating Ryanair and its CEO and resulting in changes and cancellations to its flight program for the summer 2024 peak travel season.  

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