Ryanair flies exclusively Boeing 737 jets

London (AFP) - Ryanair on Tuesday welcomed improved quality controls at US aircraft manufacturer Boeing and announced its own enhanced checks, after a major safety issue.

An Alaska Airlines-operated Boeing 737 MAX made an emergency landing earlier this month after a panel blew out after takeoff.

As a result, the US air safety regulator ordered some planes to be grounded and immediate inspections, hitting hundreds of flights.

Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary said the Irish airline had met Boeing representatives last week.

They were told they would “significantly further increase” engineers performing control checks on the production line, he told a news conference in London on Tuesday.

“We’re doubling up our engineering oversight of the Boeing quality as well,” he added.

O’Leary said his confidence in Boeing had “dramatically improved and increased” since David Calhoun became president and chief executive in 2020.

“We have been loud in our complaints about Boeing’s lack of quality control over the last two years,” he added.

“We have seen a marked improvement in the quality of the aircraft deliveries.”

Low-cost carrier Ryanair is a major Boeing client and only operates with Boeing 737s but it has complained several times about delivery delays.

Its subsidiary Lauda Europe has several Airbus A320 aircraft.

O’Leary insisted the Boeing MAX, which was grounded for two years after two crashes in 2018 and 2019, is “the safest aircraft flying”.

“It is certainly the most audited, most checked, most regulated aircraft ever made. But they can’t have these kind of mistakes,” he added.

Ryanair in November announced a sharp increase in first-half results, driven in particular by “record” summer traffic and rising prices.