Ryanair Holdings is looking to cancel the leases on all of the A320-200s operated by its Lauda (OE, Vienna) subsidiary and replace them with B737s, chief executive Michael O’Leary has told Reuters.

The Irish LCC holding's acquisition of the Austrian carrier in 2018 was touted as a diversification of its fleet which, for the greater part of its history, has been anchored around the B737. The ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows that, inclusive of Malta Air and Buzz, Ryanair currently has 440 B737-800s plus a single B737-700, most of which are owned, with a total of 210 B737-8-200 jets on order. However, Lauda has an all-leased fleet of thirty-two A320-200s.

In March 2019, O’Leary was advocating a dual Boeing-Airbus fleet, saying he had opened negotiations with Airbus on ordering 100 A321s. As recently as February, Ryanair said it aimed to increase Lauda’s fleet to 38 Airbus A320 Family jets by summer 2020.

But he told Reuters on May 12 that “we would not initiate talks with Airbus until such time as Airbus wants to initiate talks with us. Until they need an order from Ryanair Group, frankly we are wasting our time talking to Airbus.”

Ryanair now intends to “significantly reduce the scale of the Lauda fleet” and will cancel almost all of its deliveries due from lessors over the next 12 months.

Assuming that talks with Boeing on compensation for the MAX delivery delays - and a possible new order - go to plan, Ryanair is likely to replace Lauda’s fleet with Boeing aircraft “over the next couple of years,” O’Leary explained. These talks may not conclude until the MAX returns to service, which the chief executive said would probably happen in August or September.

Meanwhile, O’Leary threatened to close Lauda’s home base in Vienna if unions there refuse to comply with wage cuts and a new labour agreement by the end of May. Ryanair’s Boeings would then replace Lauda’s Airbus aircraft.