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Ryanair Image Credit: AFP

Ryanair Holdings Plc said delivery delays of 737 Max aircraft have worsened and are now likely to affect capacity next summer, as Boeing Co. grapples with quality-control issues at supplier Spirit Aerosystems Holdings Inc.

Ryanair said last month that it expected to receive 14 of 27 aircraft due by late December, but that number could fall as low as 10, Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary said in an interview at an airlines meeting in Brussels on Thursday. The latest supplier glitch to the jet looks like it will be challenging to fix, he said.

If anything it’s getting worse. I would have been reasonably confident up until about a month ago that we would get 57 aircraft by the end of June. I’m now not confident.

- Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair Holdings Plc

The latest delay means Ryanair may receive as few as 40 by that time, the CEO said. This will hurt summer flying capacity and may mean Ryanair misses its target to transport 200 million passengers next year. The carrier already lowered its full-year traffic estimate for this year on the issue, to 183.5 million passengers from 185 million previously.

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The US manufacturer is battling multiple issues on its mainstay narrowbody jet. Both Boeing and European rival Airbus SE have struggled to ramp up production fast enough to meet soaring demand for new aircraft as flying rebounds after the pandemic.

Asked if the issues would make the captive Boeing customer consider talking to Airbus, O’Leary said he considered it “on a daily basis” but that Airbus doesn’t have availability this side of 2030.

Only on Thursday, rival EasyJet Plc said it would order 157 Airbus aircraft, with an option for another 100 on top, with deliveries stretching as far out as 2034.