Ryanair Holdings plc – Annual report – 31 March 2021
1. Basis of preparation and significant accounting policies (extract)
Property, plant and equipment (extract)
An element of the cost of an acquired aircraft is attributed on acquisition to its service potential, reflecting the maintenance condition of its engines and airframe. This cost, which can equate to a substantial element of the total aircraft cost, is amortized over the shorter of the period to the next maintenance check (usually between 8 and 12 years for Boeing 737 aircraft) or the remaining life of the aircraft. The costs of subsequent major airframe and engine maintenance checks are capitalized and amortized over the shorter of the period to the next check or the remaining life of the aircraft.
Aircraft maintenance costs
The accounting for the cost of providing major airframe and certain engine maintenance checks for owned aircraft is described in the accounting policy for property, plant and equipment.
For aircraft held under lease agreements, Ryanair is contractually committed to either return the aircraft in a certain condition or to compensate the lessor based on the actual condition of the airframe, engines and life-limited parts upon return. In order to fulfill such conditions of the lease, maintenance, in the form of major airframe overhaul, engine maintenance checks, and restitution of major life-limited parts, is required to be performed during the period of the lease and upon return of the aircraft to the lessor. The estimated airframe and engine maintenance costs and the costs associated with the restitution of major life-limited parts, are accrued and charged to profit or loss over the lease term for this contractual obligation, based on the present value of the estimated future cost of the major airframe overhaul, engine maintenance checks, and restitution of major life-limited parts, calculated by reference to the number of hours flown or cycles operated during the year. Lauda’s A320 lease agreements typically have a term of up to five years which, due to their older age, aligns with the timing of their heavy maintenance checks.
Ryanair’s Boeing aircraft lease agreements typically have a term of seven or eight years, which closely correlates with the timing of heavy maintenance checks. The contractual obligation to maintain and replenish aircraft held under lease exists independently of any future actions within the control of Ryanair. While Ryanair may, in very limited circumstances, sub-lease its aircraft, it remains fully liable to perform all of its contractual obligations under the ‘head lease’ notwithstanding any such sub-leasing.
All other maintenance costs, other than major airframe overhaul, engine maintenance checks, and restitution of major life-limited parts costs associated with leased aircraft, are expensed as incurred.