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EXCLUSIVE Ryanair ready for long wait for Boeing to cut MAX price, says O’Leary

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary holds a news conference in Brussels, Belgium, March 6, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

ROME, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Ryanair is willing to wait years for Boeing (BA.N) to drop its prices before placing a big new plane order with the U.S. firm, Chief Executive Michael O’Leary told Reuters, while he also downplayed the chance of a deal with rival Airbus (AIR.PA).

The Irish airline, one of Boeing’s biggest customers, said on Monday it had ended talks over a new order of 737 MAX 10 jets worth tens of billions of dollars after the budget carrier said the prices on offer were too high. read more

“We’re not wasting any time on those MAX 10 discussions nor will we for a period of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 years until we get to the next crisis,” O’Leary said in an interview.

“The talks can always be restarted, but only when Boeing realise they need to price competitively,” he said.

Europe’s largest budget carrier is already the region’s largest MAX customer with 210 of the 197-seat MAX 8-200 on order. It has dangled a fresh order potentially worth $33 billion at list prices for up to 250 of the 230-seat MAX 10.

The rare decision to go public over big-ticket plane negotiations comes after months of wrangling that had already delayed a deal for the largest version of the 737 MAX.

A large new Ryanair order would have provided a boost to the U.S. planemaker as it rebuilds confidence in the MAX, an aircraft which was grounded for 20 months until November after two fatal crashes.

It would also speed a tentative industry recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asked if Ryanair might consider Boeing’s rival Airbus (AIR.PA) in the medium term, O’Leary said the airline would but that his “Plan B” was to wait for MAX prices to fall rather thanturn to Airbus.

“There is always a prospect that Airbus become a significant supplier. But there is a chance that the Chinese – COMAC (CMAFC.UL) – could become a significant supplier to Ryanair in the medium term,” he said.

Reporting by Gavin Jones and Angelo Amante; Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Edmund Blair

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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