RYANAIR, which has no planes on order beyond 2012, expects to be able to snap up jets at short notice if required as rival carriers struggle to fund purchases, chief executive officer Michael O'Leary said yesterday.
"An enormous quantity of the existing orders for Airbus and Boeing won't be delivered, unless there's enough manufacturer-financing in place," said Mr O'Leary in Brussels.
Norwegian Air Shuttle (NAS) and PT Lion Mentari Airlines of Indonesia are unlikely to be able to pay for all the 300 Boeing 737 MAX single-aisle planes they have on order, Mr O'Leary claimed. NAS also has orders for 100 Airbus A320 Neos.
Mr O'Leary insisted Lion Air "can't buy a bag of sweets" and that NAS "doesn't have any oil wells" to be able to fund its purchases. NAS announced its order for the Boeing and Airbus aircraft in January.
Ryanair, an all-Boeing operator, remains sceptical about the re-engined 737 MAX, Mr O'Leary said, questioning its capacity, efficiency and waste-handling costs.
Europe's biggest discount carrier has said it will also consider Airbus's Neo.
Since last year, Ryanair has been working with Comac of China on the C919, a new entrant to the single-aisle market.
NAS, Europe's fourth-largest low-cost operator, "doesn't make any money, at least no significant money, and it certainly can't fund an order for 200 to 400 aircraft," Mr O'Leary insisted. The company isn't competitive outside Norway, he said.
"The trick is to have the discretion to wait until you're at the bottom of the cycle, and that certainly isn't now," he said. "You have silly people like Norwegian out there ordering huge numbers of aircraft that they can't afford."
Mr O'Leary said all evidence Ryanair has seen indicates that Boeing's MAX, "as a product, is rubbish." The Airbus Neo, announced before the Boeing model, "does credibly deliver" a 12 to 14pc saving on fuel burn, he said. (Bloomberg)