Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers, Ryanair, is in talks with authorities in Egypt and Libya about operating flights to the countries for the first time, Chief Executive Michael O'Leary has said.

Ryanair's only flights outside of Europe currently are to and from Morocco, Israel and Jordan.

Its Hungary-based rival Wizz, which flies to Egypt and Morocco, has also been expanding aggressively into the Middle East, flying 36 routes from Abu Dhabi on its Wizz Air Abu Dhabi joint venture.

"We're talking to the Egyptians, the Libyans," Mr O'Leary told a Eurocontrol event, without giving any more details.

Mr O'Leary added that Ryanair would be the first airline to return to Ukraine when it is safe to do so.

Ryanair was one of the largest foreign airlines in Ukraine before it suspended all of its flights following Russia's invasion in February.

Mr O'Leary also said the airline will be lucky to receive 40 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft by the end of June from the 51 due for delivery, potentially impacting the airline's planned growth for 2023.

"We're contracted to get 51 aircraft from Boeing before the end of April. We will be lucky to get 40 aircraft by the end of June next year and that's critical to our continued growth," Mr O'Leary said.

Ryanair plans to grow from a record 168 million passengers this financial year to 185 million next.

Mr O'Leary said earlier this month that he was concerned Boeing might fall 5-10 aircraft short, knocking 1 or 2 million from that target.