Ryanair (RYAAY) made an offer for more Boeing 737 Max jets but won't make the order official until the global grounding of the troubled jet is lifted.
The Irish discount carrier made an offer for an undisclosed number of 737 Max-10 jets, CEO Michael O'Leary said during the company's Q4 earnings conference call. The 737 Max-10 variant is larger than the 737 Max 200 model currently on order from Ryanair.
O'Leary said that the Boeing 737 Max deal will be finalized when the global grounding is lifted, and he expects the first of the jets to be delivered next summer. Ryanair is the largest European customer of the 737 Max, with 210 of the jets on order.
The Boeing 737 Max jets have been grounded since March following two deadly crashes that killed 346 people.
Meanwhile, the latest IBD/TIPP poll shows that the share of people who are likely to avoid flying on the Boeing 737 Max dipped to 54% in February from 56% in January. People's views of Boeing also have changed little, with those viewing the company less favorably edging up to 52% from 51% a month ago.
Boeing shares closed down 0.7% at 316.00 on the stock market today. The stock is well under its 50- and 200-day moving averages, according to MarketSmith chart analysis. Ryanair's U.S.-listed shares jumped 6.2% to 92.00 after the company reported strong earnings.
EU Regulators Have Boeing 737 Max Wiring Concerns
But Ryanair's Boeing 737 Max fleet could face additional hurdles in Europe before they can return to service.
Officials from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency wants some electrical wires, which help control movable panels on the tail and power other systems, moved to reduce the risk of short circuits, sources told the Wall Street Journal. Boeing hasn't announced its recommendation on the wiring issue.
But FAA managers reportedly agree that moving the wiring isn't necessary, and FAA chief Steve Dickson has told U.S. airline executives that the regulator could approve the Boeing 737 Max for service before midyear.
The FAA reportedly delayed scheduling a key test flight of the Boeing 737 Max over the disagreement. The test flight is needed before the jet can return to service, which analysts expect sometime this summer.
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