By Conor Humphries and Laurence Frost
DUBLIN (Reuters) -Ryanair may decline to accept delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX jet until after the summer following a delay in the certification of a version of the jet designed for the airline, a senior executive said on Thursday.
The Irish airline, the largest European customer for the MAX, is still waiting for Boeing to provide a date for the delivery of its first jet, a 197-seat MAX200, and will decide then if it can take it during its busy summer season, the executive said.
“We need a definitive date as to when we’re going to get the airplane and then we’ve got to decide … whether that suits us to take them or not because in the normal course of events we don’t take aircraft in the summer months,” said Eddie Wilson, chief executive of Ryanair DAC, the main airline in the Ryanair Group.
Wilson, speaking to Reuters in an interview, said the delay was related to the certification of the MAX200 model, which has an extra door to allow more passengers than the standard model, and appeared to hinge on the relationship between Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration.
“The release of that aircraft… has to do with a fairly straightforward issue. And it’s how the interface between Boeing and the FAA is going to work in matters like that and they have to iron that out once and for all,” Wilson said.
“It’s really up to Boeing at Seattle to bed in that relationship with the FAA in dealing with issues of certification and how they have to do things differently. That’s what it looks like,” he said.
Boeing did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Ryanair was initially due to take delivery of its first MAX two years ago before the jet was grounded for 20 months after two fatal crashes.
Since then the airline has announced repeated delays, cutting its planned deliveries in time for use in summer 2021 from 40 to 16 to possibly zero.
Group Chief Executive Michael O’Leary last month said he was upset with Boeing and did “not necessarily believe” a promise from the U.S. firm to deliver the first plane before the end of May.
(Reporting by Conor Humphries and Laurence Frost; editing by David Evans, Kirsten Donovan)