Recent reports state that Irish Low-Cost Carrier (LCC), Ryanair is getting ready to sell off ten of their Boeing 737-800 passenger aircraft as part of their upcoming fleet renewal programme. It seems very likely that they will be converted to freighters.
Old out - new in
Unconfirmed reports say that the ten aircraft will be sold for a total of US$170 million. It has not been revealed as to who will buy the jets. However, it seems that Ryanair has received high bids for them from companies who plan to convert them into freighters and sell or lease them into the Chinese market to companies operating express parcels services.
A handover date for the ten Boeings is said to be by the end of the first quarter of 2020. This date could be put back if Ryanair does not start receiving some of their newly ordered B737 MAX aircraft by then.
The MAX programme has come to a standstill until the software problems which are said to have resulted in two disastrous crashes, are solved by then and Boeing can restart the production line.
Ryanair was due to receive the first five from a total of 210 ordered B737 MAX aircraft by the end of this summer in order to be able to introduce them into service by the start of the 2019/2020 winter season. Best case scenario is now for delivery by the end of this year or early next year.
More to be sold off?
Ryanair operates a fleet of 431 B737-800s, many of which are reaching old-age and will be replaced by the 737 MAX.
However, in due time the entire -800 fleet will have to be renewed. The Ryanair fleet is said to be well maintained and it should be easy enough to attract buyers from the P2F conversion market to take them over at a sale price which would make Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary, very happy.
The demand for the 737-800 conversion continues unabated. This applies especially for the Chinese express parcel carriers, but also for European operators.
One future candidate for a large B737 conversion programme could well be Amazon prime, who are steadily putting their footprint into the European market.
It was reported that Ryanair admits that once the first ten 737s are gone, that they will then introduce moves to sell off smaller batches of their -800 fleet in the coming years.
Not a bad business for the conversion companies.
Things are not going so well at the moment for the Dublin based carrier as their COO who recently resigned is now joining their arch-competitor, easyJet. On top of this the carrier has been forced to cut growth for 2020 due to the extended delay in getting Boeing 737 MAX jets back in the air and an upcoming strike by the UK-based pilots.
John Mc Donagh