Ryanair Issues Fresh Ultimatum To Boeing

November 19, 2009

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Ryanair will wait until the end of November or very early in December to reach a deal with Boeing on a fresh batch of aircraft orders, Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said on Thursday.

If no preliminary agreement is reached around the end of the month, allowing time to sign a formal deal by the end of 2009, Ryanair will end its long-running relationship with the aircraft maker, O'Leary said in the latest of his threats in the bargaining process with Boeing.

O'Leary, renowned in the industry for driving hard bargains, already warned earlier this month that talks on ordering 200 aircraft for 2013-16 delivery had not progressed much and that he could slow down Ryanair's rapid growth from 2013.

"I am not wasting another Christmas holiday trying to talk to guys in Seattle," O'Leary said, referring to Boeing's home base, adding he saw a deal highly unlikely.

O'Leary also reiterated he could break with his policy of not paying any dividends, adding that mid- to late 2011 could be the time to start returning cash to shareholders as Ryanair's current capital investment programme would be tailing off by then.

"Around mid- to end-2011 we'll be looking at very substantial senior management bonuses and distributions to shareholders, in that order," O'Leary said. "I think I'm worth it."

(Reuters)