(Bloomberg) -- Ryanair Holdings Plc Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary said Boeing Co. management needs to focus on continuity as it seeks to stabilise the business, and that the new head of the commercial aircraft unit has made a promising start. 

Speaking in London, O’Leary said he’s held talks with Stephanie Pope, Boeing’s new head of commercial aircraft, twice in the last two weeks and that he’s optimistic Boeing will be able to ramp up output and deliver close to 40 jets to Ryanair ahead of the peak summer travel season. O’Leary urged Boeing to keep Pope in Seattle for the next two to three years in order for her to keep a close eye on production.

“I think all of the signs at the moment are getting more optimistic,” O’Leary said in an interview. “Now, it’s only a week or two, but that’s the first time deliveries have actually kind of moved forward instead of continuously getting delayed backwards.”

Boeing has come under increasing scrutiny from lawmakers, airlines and regulators following a near-catastrophic blowout of a fuselage panel on a 737 Max 9 during flight in early January. The Federal Aviation Administration has restricted the planemaker from raising output on the 737 Max beyond the 38-jet monthly pace until they’re satisfied the quality measures have taken root.

Ryanair runs a fleet of about 600 mostly Boeing 737 planes, the largest operator of the type outside of the US. 

The carrier had previously blamed Boeing’s delivery delays for slowing growth in 2024, and cut its annual passenger forecast and flight frequencies across the network as a result. O’Leary said Wednesday that Ryanair still expects to see 200 million passengers on an annual basis in the year ending March 2025, although the carrier may be forced to stimulate demand in key markets such as the UK through discounts.

O’Leary offered some advice on who should be the next CEO after the planemaker announced that incumbent Dave Calhoun would step down at the end of the year as part of wider management shakeup. 

“The best CEOs and owners are the accountants, the people who do the boring, repetitive day-to-day delivery, and that’s what you need,” said O’Leary. Boeing “already design great aircraft - you’ve got to make them, but you’ve got to make them on time and within budget, and that needs accountants.”

“It’s like never put a pilot in charge of an airline,” he said.

(Updates with further comments from CEO in seventh paragraph.)

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