Ryanair is negotiating with leasing companies affected by Thomas Cook's demise to take over several Airbus jets for use by its Austrian subsidiary Lauda.
Speaking at a briefing hosted by Thomson Reuters in London today, Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said the plan was to boost Lauda's fleet for the summer 2020 schedule.
The number of aircraft would depend on asset pricing and company's capacity to recruit and train pilots ahead of the summer season, he says.
Beyond Thomas Cook's fleet, O'Leary sees opportunity to increase the Ryanair group's A320 fleet with second-hand aircraft.
He says "lots of leasing companies are taking back 8-10-year-old Ceos" as airlines introduce A320neos.
If no agreement is reached by May 20, airline boss O’Leary wants to close the Lauda subsidiary and come back with Ryanair aircraft. “Bigger and more aggressive than Lauda has ever been.”
Ryanair threatens to close its Austrian subsidiary Lauda in Vienna. Lauda jets would be replaced with Ryanair planes if the workforce were not willing to cut wages and new employment contracts, Irish low-cost airline chief Michael O’Leary said in an interview with Reuters on Friday.
The talks between Lauda and the union are difficult. “We have set a deadline of May 20,” said O’Leary. If the employees refused, the Lauda base in Vienna would be closed. “When we close Lauda, she comes back as Ryanair: bigger and more aggressive than Lauda has ever been.”
Ryanair's Laudamotion said today it would close its main base in Vienna after the transport union refused to accept pay cuts for employees of the carrier hard hit by the coronavirus crisis.
"Lauda deeply regrets the loss of more than 300 jobs for its A320-team and the closing of Lauda's A320 base in Vienna on Friday May 29," the carrier said.
Ryanair-owned Lauda has cancelled plans to close its Vienna base after the majority of pilots and cabin crew backed a new collective labour agreement.
Services will resume on 1 July with three Airbus A320s based at the airport, rising to 10 by August. Originally, Lauda intended to base 16 A320s in the Austrian capital for the summer 2020 season, but this plan has been scaled back because of the coronavirus crisis.