fleet decisions

Sep 1, 2017

The perils of reporting Ryanair’s activities and ambitions

The scary, funny and enormously successful Michael O'Leary has ambitions for basket case Alitalia

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

How an Alitalia A320 wouldn’t look if owned by Ryanair

The very, vey latest word from Euro low cost giant and profitably loaded carrier Ryanair is that it just wants to pump jets into Italy at short notice if broken Alitalia goes to the wall, or fence, which is where unwanted capacity awaits the repo pilots to turn up and take them back to the leasing companies or financiers.

The progression of the reporting of Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary’s pronouncements is fascinating. At first they supported an intention to buy most of the carrier, even including its long haul mainly trans Atlantic wide body fleet of A330s.

Then it was more specifically the purchase of up to 90 of its jets, but not the airline, which as of the end of July totalled 76 Airbus A320s and A319s as well as the A330s and assorted executive jets for punting staff in particular engineers around its network.

Now it seems Ryanair wants to use 20 or 30 of its own 737-800s out of 403 in service this day, should everything go pear shaped, maybe including spare capacity generated by a general down turn in demand.

Your short list of stories could include this from Bloomberg yesterday, this from ATW a few hours ago, and this from Reuters in a similar time frame.

They are all authoritative stories from very careful and studious news organisations.

The breakfast coffee at Airbus might well have splashed all over the croissants at the thought of anti-Christ Michael O’Leary actually buying around 90 of their jets.

Ryanair is the launch customer for the 737 MAX 200, which seems to have two passenger toilets for the very small, and 198 seats as well as apparently reliable high tech CFMI Franco-American engines, which are currently the safe option given Pratt and Whitney’s huge problems with its GTF or geared turbo fan design.

Mr O’Leary knows how to keep us entertained. And his airline is very successful and probably much more comfortable to use these days than full service economy, even in some cases, business class, in the intra European market by British Airways, Lufthansa and Air France KLM with their confusing collection of sub brands tailored to millennials, baby boomers and veterans from the French revolution.

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9 thoughts on “The perils of reporting Ryanair’s activities and ambitions


    O’Leary is a legend. Hope he takes over the world of aviation.

    1. Dan Dair

      ‘Legend’…… hmm, I’m yet to be convinced, (sometimes I think he’s a knob.?)
      though I completely accept that his business acumen is certainly as good as the best in aviation.!

      Perhaps VAH’s shareholders should be looking to see if he’ll take them under his wing (pun intended.!).?
      They used to be a profitable low-cost brand as Virgin Blue. Now they’re a loss-making ‘full-service’ airline. Something needs to change, before their shareholders run out of money & patience.?
      They could go back to being Virgin Blue, with an identical paint-job to Ryanair but with the Virgin logo on the tail instead of the harp.???

    2. Jacob HSR

      Honestly, what we need is a law that says an aircraft that has just landed must not take off again for another 60 mins. That would allow the toilets to be cleaned.

      Do Ryanair clean toilets properly? Nope.

      1. Dan Dair

        Why can’t we just have a law that says the toilets must be cleaned properly,
        BEFORE the plane can take-off again.?

        It’s not the length of time the plane spends on the ground that’s important,
        it’s whether passengers actually get onto a clean aircraft, irrespective of how long that takes to achieve.?

  2. Dan Dair

    Now that Qatar have pulled their money out of Alitalia, it’s 99% certain that the Italian airline will go bust.?
    The staff & the unions simply wouldn’t accept that a ‘flag carrier’ is no-longer relevant in the modern-world of aviation.

    I can’t honestly see Michael O’Leary paying for something which he can get for free a couple of months later, with no strings attached to it.?
    He’ll wait for the business to fail & then go in & pick over the bones.
    That’s not a nasty comment, just a reflection on how good a businessman he is.

    If he gets the airframes he wants at the price he wants to pay, he will take them, Airbus or not.?
    If he gets the authority to take-over the routes he wants, he will exploit them.
    If he gets the crews he wants, he will offer them the T’s & C’s he’s prepared to give them.
    It won’t matter a jot to him that those staff might be taking a 50% wage cut, because that’s how Alitalia got into this mess & also why Ryanair is a roaring success.!

  3. Dan Dair

    Apropos the GTF engine.
    Have you seen anything like a progress-report on it.?

    AFAIK, the P&W GTF engine is actually working better well & exceeding the design specifications on everything except the A321.?
    Which I read was actually about the wing pylons on that airframe.?

    Am I correct in that perspective & do you know how they’re getting along with remedying the problem.?

  4. comet

    Alitalia has been a basket case for a very long time.

    1. Dan Dair

      Quite true,
      but that’s mostly because it’s a ‘flag-carrier’, ‘legacy’ airline, which has never really moved-on from that position.

      Pretty-much all of the rest of Europe’s ‘flag-carriers’ have either changed to meet the ‘new-reality’, merged or ceased trading. The last of these probably being Spain’s Iberia, which was struggling before the BA-group took it over & started to make changes.

      Alitalia had a real opportunity to turn themselves around, with Etihad & their money. But they’ve squandered it & I honestly can’t see the Italian state propping them up any longer. It’s a bit of a blow for Italian pride, but inevitable IMO, under the current circumstances.

      As I said earlier, Ryanair won’t come in to save Alitalia because the Italians will want guarantees about staff T’s & C’s.
      Once the airline is defunct, staff T’s & C’s are no-longer an issue & MO’L can take what he wants (& what he can get) from the staff, route & aircraft assets.

      1. Dan Dair

        Just read some stuff on European news sites;
        Aside from the usual stuff about the Italian elections coming up,
        I hadn’t realised that Etihad were still in the running for taking complete control of Alitalia.
        According to what I’ve read, the Italian administrators have set up the sale process to facilitate the sale of the airline as a complete package.

        As I’ve said before, I can’t see Ryanair wanting that & with Etihad’s pitiful record of reform within their ‘partner’ airline so far, I don’t think they’d be interested either.

        The only way forward appears to be to let the airline fail.
        At that point, interested parties can take-over all or part of the business without any of the ‘strings’-attached to it’s previous incarnation.?
        Such as an existing cost structure which means that the current airline loses half a million euros a month.?

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