The Boeing 737 Max aircraft has the potential to be a "game changer" despite being delayed back into service after security concerns, Ryanair CEO Michael O & # 39; Ryanair said Monday.
Speaking to CNBC, O & # 39; Leary said the budget company does not expect its first delivery of 737 Max until March or April 2020, adding that it's time to have the aircraft available for the summer.
The first of Ryanair's 737 Max orders was due in January, but the wrapped aircraft has had repeated delays. In a video presentation Monday morning, O & # 39; Leary said that the carrier had now reduced the expectation of 30,737 Max aircraft to be delivered in the summer of 2020 down to 20, adding that there is a "real risk to no one," Reuters reported.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said at a congressional hearing last week that the manufacturer has fixed the aircraft's magnification maneuverability (MCAS) to allow pilots to override it. The original MCAS system had been at the center of security concerns that arose after Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes killed a combined 346 passengers and flight crew.
"There have been two tragic accidents with the 737 Max ̵[ads1]1; the MCAS software system was not I think well explained by Boeing for pilots in general who flew the planes, but it has moved successfully in North America for over 12 months without any event, "O & # 39; Leary told CNBC.
"MCAS is now well known by pilots and we are the only airline with a Max simulator here in Europe. We put most of our senior pilots, the training pilots through it, they love the plane, they love the MCAS system when everyone understand what it is doing. "
Leary said he was confident the aircraft was completely safe, and attributed the delays in returning the service to the process to ensure pilots are familiar with the new software system. He claimed that despite the two tragedies involving the 737 Max, it has "never been safer to fly."
"Manufacturers have a duty to produce new products, new software, to educate the airlines and pilots about the existence of that software and what it does, but this is still a great aircraft," he said.
"This is a plane that has 4% more seats, 16% lower fuel consumption, it will be the game changer for us for the next 10 years, so we can't wait to see it back in the air, fly safely and fly Millions of people on an annual basis. "
Ryanair reported Monday's after-tax profit of $ 1.15 billion ($ 1.3 billion) for six months from April to September, somewhat better than expected. It also narrowed the full-year profit forecast from 750-950 million euros to 800-900 million euros.