Airlines

Boeing management needs a reboot after losing its way, Ryanair CEO says

Key Points
  • The Irish low-cost airline terminated talks over a substantial order of Boeing 737 Max 10 jets worth tens of billions of dollars in September 2021, after failing to agree on pricing.
  • O'Leary told CNBC following Ryanair's full-year results that the company had been "very disappointed with the performance" of Boeing from a commercial perspective over the last 12 months.
Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary pictured during a press conference of Irish low-cost airline Ryanair, Wednesday 02 March 2022 in Brussels.
Nicolas Maeterlinck | AFP | Getty Images

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary has called for a shakeup of management at U.S. aircraft giant Boeing, after delivery delays and a period of fractious negotiations between the two companies.

The Irish low-cost airline terminated talks over a substantial order of Boeing 737 Max 10 jets worth tens of billions of dollars in September 2021, after failing to agree on pricing. Executives from both companies are due to return to the table in the coming weeks.

Ryanair is Europe's largest customer of the narrow-body 737 Max, and had spoken of a fresh order potentially worth around £33 billion for up to 250 of the larger, 230-seat Max 10.

O'Leary told CNBC following Ryanair's full-year results on Monday that the company had been "very disappointed with the performance" of Boeing from a commercial perspective over the last 12 months.

"I saw some commentary recently that Boeing management has lost their way, and I find it hard to disagree with those sentiments," O'Leary said.

"They've been late on the aircraft deliveries, we've heard nothing from them on the Max 10, despite the fact that we broke off negotiations with them last September."

Boeing reported a larger-than-expected quarterly loss and below-consensus revenue for the first quarter of 2022, posting a net loss of $1.2 billion.

VIDEO6:3206:32
Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary talks earnings, outlook and Boeing management

The U.S. titan has enjoyed resurgent demand for its stalwart 737 Max, which returned to service in late 2020 after being sidelined following two fatal crashes. However, production issues and certification delays have dragged on other aircraft programs.

"Boeing needs a management reboot, certainly on the aircraft civilian side," O'Leary said.

"They need to get some management in there that's going to resolve the aircraft delivery delays and sort out the production challenges facing not just the Max, but also the Max 10, and the 787 as well."

Boeing did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment. Following the breakdown of talks in September, a Boeing spokesperson said Ryanair is a "long-standing partner" and that Boeing is "committed to supporting them."

Ryanair on Monday posted a 355 million euro ($369.06 million) net loss for the 12 months to the end of March, with the Covid-19 pandemic still weighing on international travel.

The company said it was unable to provide accurate forward profit guidance due to the uncertainties surrounding the war in Ukraine and the pandemic, but that it hopes for a return to "reasonable profitability" this year.