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The Very Annoying Reason European Flights Will Be More Expensive This Summer

Another ripple effect from Boeing.

Low-cost European carrier Ryanair isn’t happy with American aircraft manufacturer Boeing. The airline’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, said in an interview that the manufacturer has delayed delivery of its planes and, as a result, the airline will be reducing capacity this summer. For travelers, it will translate into higher prices.

The good news–if there’s any good news in this story–is that the price hike isn’t expected to be as steep as the 17% seen in 2023. According to O’Leary, the budget carrier might increase fares by 10%. “It could be higher than that, it could be lower than that, we don’t really know,” he said.

Nonetheless, capacity issues might become global due to Boeing’s many troubles. The Ryanair chief also expects a “higher fare environment across Europe” this summer.

Boeing had to deliver 57 of its 737 Max 8200 to the airline by May 2024, but only 40 to 45 are expected to arrive before summer, so the airline will have to rethink its schedule and cut flights. Last winter, too, the airline trimmed its schedule due to ongoing delivery issues with Boeing, and it is now also demanding compensation from the aircraft company for these delays.

Related: Boeing 737 Max 9 Isn’t the Only Aircraft With Problems. Here Are 4 Others That Have Had Issues

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Boeing’s Troubles 

On January 5, Boeing came under fire after a door plug on an Alaska Airlines blew off mid-flight, causing an emergency landing. No one was hurt, but airlines took all Boeing 737 Max 9 planes out of commission while investigations were ongoing. 

Investigators found that many Max aircraft were missing key bolts and may have left the Boeing factory without them.

Alaska Airlines carried in-house checks and found more loose bolts on its Boeing Max fleet. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) returned the planes to service on January 24, but passengers have been squeamish about flying on these jets. Former employees of Boeing have also accused the company of rushing the planes and ignoring safety standards.

Due to Boeing’s murky track record, passengers, airlines, and regulators may also be nervous. In 2018 and 2019, two of its 737 Max 8 crashed, killing all 346 people on board. Those jets were kept from the skies for two years until the problems were fixed. 

There was also an issue reported with the anti-icing system of the 737 Max, and the manufacturer notified pilots to limit its use. Boeing is also facing manufacturing glitches, and this month, the FAA capped its 737 production at 38 jets per month to address quality control issues.

Amid all these concerns, the U.S. regulator has given the company 90 days to fix its problems. 

Related: Can You Avoid Sitting Next to a Door Plug on an Aircraft?

Unhappy Customers

It’s not just Ryanair that is frustrated with Boeing. 

United Airlines, a major Boeing client, took a beating with the FAA-ordered grounding of 737 Max 9 planes. United has 79 in its fleet (out of 215 worldwide)—more than any other airline—and the grounding caused the airline a quarterly loss.

In 2018, United placed an order for 277 of Boeing’s new 737 Max 10s with an option to buy 200 more, and the delivery was expected in 2020. The newer Max aircraft is still not certified by the FAA, and United CEO Scott Kirby has confirmed that it’s not counting on these planes. “We’re going to build a plan that doesn’t have the Max 10 in it,” he said. 

Other top airline execs are publicly criticizing the manufacturer after the January incident. Alaska Airlines also had tough conversations with Boeing after more planes were found with loose bolts, and American Airlines said that the company needs to get its act togetherDubai-based Emirates president Sir Tim Clark also didn’t mince words when he said in an interview with the Financial Times that there had been a progressive decline in quality and that “this is the last chance saloon” for Boeing. The airline is a big client for the manufacturer and placed an order worth $52 billion last year. The lost confidence in their quality checks, however, has prompted Emirates to send their own engineers to observe the production of planes.

For vacationers going to Europe this year, it may require more flexibility, especially in the wake of union strikes, price increases, and lower capacity.