Published on March 31st, 2018 | by Mark Dwyer


Ryanair Receives 500th 737-800 and Takes a Stake in Laudamotion

500th 737-800

A sneak preview of EI-GJK in the paint shop at Boeing released by Boeing on St. Patrick’s Day

Ryanair took delivery of their 500th Boeing 737-800 EI-GJK on 23rd March. Ryanair is the biggest operator of the Boeing 737-800 in the world with 430 currently in service. In addition, the company operate one 737-700 which is used for training and corporate charters. It took delivery of its first -800, EI-CSA on 19th March 1999 and has since continued remarkable growth, this year taking an average of one new aircraft every week (although deliveries are more concentrated in the winter months).

To celebrate the occasion, Boeing released a short video congratulating Ryanair on its achievement (see below). By comparison, Southwest Airlines operate 709 737’s of all variants but just 190 of the -800.


Ryanair Holdings Plc announced last week that it has entered into a binding agreement with Mr Niki Lauda to support his plan to develop and grow Laudamotion GmbH, his Austrian airline based in Vienna. Laudamotion is an Austrian AOC holder owned by Niki Lauda, which has recently acquired many of the assets, including A320 aircraft, of the former Niki Airline, and will shortly start a range of scheduled and charter services from Germany, Austria and Switzerland primarily to Mediterranean leisure destinations.

Under this agreement, Ryanair will acquire an initial 24.9% stake in Laudamotion and this will rise as soon as possible to 75% subject to EU Competition approval. Niki Lauda will chair the Board of the airline and oversee the implementation of his strategy to build a successful Austrian low fares airline. Ryanair will provide financial and management support to Laudamotion as well as 6 wet-lease aircraft for summer 2018 to enable Laudamotion to complete an extensive 21 aircraft flying program. Its initial summer 2018 programme is dominated by Palma with 65 round trips pw; Vienna 23 pw (with a later start); Zurich 23 pw; Dusseldorf 14 pw; Basle 9 pw.

The cost of this 75% investment in Laudamotion (if approved by the EU) will be less than €50m although Ryanair will provide an additional €50m for year 1 start up and operating costs. Both Mr Lauda and Ryanair will work with the existing management team of Laudamotion and expect the airline to reach profitability by year 3 of operations if their plan to grow the business to a fleet of at least 30 Airbus aircraft is successful.

This partnership provides job security, career opportunities and growth in employment in all activities of Laudamotion, such as cockpit and cabin crew, maintenance and administration, and will allow consumers and visitors to benefit from strong competition, leading to more choices and lower fares.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said “We look forward to working in partnership with Niki Lauda to successfully develop his vision for a successful Austrian low fares airline to service the schedule and charter markets.  The Laudamotion AOC will support a fleet of Airbus aircraft which is something we have hoped to develop within the Ryanair Group for some years.

Niki Lauda, Chairman of Laudamotion and Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair

Laudamotion will benefit from this partnership with access to the Ryanair fleet and financial resources allowing Laudamotion to grow more rapidly as it seeks to compete in a market which is dominated by Lufthansa’s Swiss and Austrian subsidiaries.

Niki Lauda, Chairman of Laudamotion said “I have always stood up for competition and have opposed monopolies. Therefore, I am thrilled that in the partnership with Ryanair, Laudamotion will be able to establish itself as a strong competitor and to grow quickly and sustainably. A new player in the aviation market is born and I am looking forward to offering our passengers an extensive route portfolio at competitive air fares.”

Lauda will initially receive six B737s from Ryanair. For the time being, these will only be used in Berlin together with Ryanair personnel, but they will fly under the Laudamotion flight designator OE. The remaining 14 Airbus aircraft of Laudamotion are used at other airports in the German-speaking area, including Vienna. Ryanair will market Laudamotion flights.

Ryanair Chief Operating Officer Peter Bellew told FlightGlobal in Brussels on Wednesday that “Airbus makes super aircraft, so there’s no reason why we wouldn’t have Airbus aircraft in future in Ryanair”. Bellew cites Laudamotion’s EASA Part-145 maintenance approval for Airbus types, and its “hangarage down there to be able to do Airbus operation of Airbus-trained pilots”, as attractive to Ryanair.

Condor provides operational functions to Laudamotion for example, the operation of the Operations Control Centre, crew planning and marketing cooperation. Commenting on the announcement, Condor (part of the Thomas Cook airline) said the airline is pleased that Lauda has “found a strong partner” and is still expanding the sales cooperation.

Eurowings has confirmed Laudamotion will operate 8 aircraft of the A320 family for it.  The contract is initially until the end of May. “A possible co-operation beyond this time will be examined by Laudamotion and Eurowings in the next weeks.”

Ryanair’s share price hardly moved after the announcement of the deal, down about 1%.


Ryanair have announced that it will fly to Ukraine, its 36th country, from October 2018. Kyiv/Kiev Boryspil will have 10 new routes: Barcelona (4 pw), Bratislava (3), Gdansk (2), Krakow (3), Stansted (5), Poznan (2), Stockholm Skavsta (3), Vilnius (3), Warsaw Modlin (4) & Wroclaw (3) totalling 32 weekly round trips.

Lviv will have: – 5 new routes: Dusseldorf Weeze (3 pw), Krakow (3), Stansted (3), Memmingen (2) & Warsaw Modlin (3) totalling 14 weekly round trips.

Minister of Infrastructure, Volodymyr Omelyan, said “Ryanair’s entry to Ukraine is the most important event for the national airspace over the past 20 years. The Ukrainian president said that the arrival of the airline to Ukraine is the seal of quality of investment climate. He said that the tickets for Ukrainians will be on average €40 cheaper and the airline seeks to carry 1m Ukrainians in the first year of its operation.

Ryanair 737-800 EI-DYE was spotted arriving in Kiev Boryspil International Airport on 22nd March and departing again on 23rd, presumably in connection with the announcement.

According to CEO Michael O’Leary, the airline is looking to hire pilots, cabin crew and up to 250 information technology specialists in the country. O’Leary said he knows that Ukrainian tech people are professional, as Ryanair operates in Poland, and 50% of the people Ryanair hires there are IT specialists from Ukraine.  “We know that Ukrainians are truly competent,” he said. So it might be “very efficient to create a Ryanair data centre in Ukraine and employ 250 Ukrainian tech specialists”.

Apart from a data centre, the O’Leary wants to create a Ukrainian centre for technical maintenance of Ryanair planes.

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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