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Ryanair CEO expects to be at least seven Boeing deliveries short this summer

(Adds quotes, detail, background throughout)

By Francois Murphy

VIENNA, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Ryanair expects to be at least seven Boeing deliveries short this summer, CEO Michael O'Leary told Reuters on Tuesday.

"We still think it's somewhere between seven and 10 but there's a risk it could be worse than that. A lot depends on what comes out of the FAA review which is due to complete, I think, in two weeks' time," he said in an interview.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) launched an audit of Boeing's 737 production line following a Jan. 5 accident where a door plug blew off in mid-flight from a Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9. It has also prohibited Boeing from increasing its MAX production rate without FAA permission.

Ryanair, Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers and one of Boeing's main customers, has ordered more than 350 MAX jets in recent years, but has none of the MAX 9 variant.

"I certainly wouldn't say the worst could be 10. It could be more than that. But we've no idea," O'Leary said.

The company is getting weekly updates from Boeing and in the last three updates there has been no change, he said.

"The (Boeing) management team in Seattle don't appear to have a grip on the situation at the moment. In their defence it's in the lap of the FAA and we would like to see some a more expeditious outcome coming from both the FAA oversight and then Boeing ... getting their act together," he said.

A bigger shortfall in plane deliveries by a cut-off date of July 10 could impact Ryanair's passenger traffic outlook further, he said. Ryanair's business year runs until the end of March.

"If we are left short more than seven aircraft then we're looking again at our full-year traffic," O'Leary said.

"Our full-year traffic this year is about 183.5 (million passengers). Next year we're looking at something just over 200 million and we've pared that back from kind of 205 to maybe 201. There's a risk to maybe the 200 - it might be 199, 199.5. We don't know," he said. (Reporting by Francois Murphy; editing by Jason Neely)

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