Chief Executive of Ryanair Michael O’Leary said the airline can wait for prices to fall before making any large orders, while speaking at a Reuters Newsmaker event in London on Tuesday.
“I think we have to wait for the next turn in the cycle. At the moment there are no pricing opportunities on aircraft. The MAX has been grounded, Airbus are pricing up, Boeing are pricing up because they’ve nothing to sell,” he said.
O’Leary said Ryanair is in “continuous dialogue” with Boeing hoping that 30-40 737 MAX jets will be functional and ready by summer 2020 but said that talks with Airbus for their 100 A321neo aircraft are going "slowly".
The comments come as Ryanair plans to add the Airbus order to its Laudamotion business and the Boeing purchases to its main fleet.
O’Leary also predicted on Tuesday that a likely expansion of European environmental taxes will eventually push more carriers out of business, and condemned regulatory proposals which would disproportionately impact low-cost carriers and force them to bear the brunt of increased duties.
“It’s going to hasten the consolidation of the industry,” O’Leary said.
“You can’t exempt connecting transfer traffic from environmental taxes,” he added, in reference to long-haul flight providers, claiming that such airlines are the most environmentally damaging due to requiring two flights to reach the final destination yet won't be as effected by taxation.
“As we cram you all in together, you can take comfort from the fact that you’re having the least impact on the environment of any passenger airline group in Europe,” O’Leary said.
Low-cost airlines do account for a significant amount of both Europe’s recent and expected aviation emissions, but the high load of Ryanair flights means that per-passenger the company reports lower carbon output.
According to Reuters, unnamed Ryanair sources say that commercial talks between Ryanair and Boeing for a purchase of larger MAX variants have begun and could be completed as soon as the current version returns to use.
The price of the potential 737 MAX 10 order is expected to include discounts as compensation for the grounding of the older models, the anonymous source claims.
Ryanair currently has an order of 135 of Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX 8 planes with a 197-seat capacity pending with the option of another 75. The Boeing 737 MAX 10, which Ryanair wishes to purchase, could hold up to 230 seats.
The Max 237 currently remains grounded worldwide after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people and Boeing has yet to convince regulatory bodies that software updates make the plane ready for safe service.
The Ryanair CEO has been an outspoken opponent of Brexit, strongly supporting the campaign for the UK to remain in the EU on the basis that the UK economy would be stronger as an EU member.