Ryanair is in talks with Boeing for 100+ 737 MAX 10s for delivery from 2026, the year when its on-order “B737 8200s” are due to be fully delivered. If it does order MAX 10s, they’ll have 230 seats. They’d play a key role, economically speaking, especially as Wizz Air increasingly focuses on 239-seat A321neos.
Speaking of the potential fleet order, Michael O’Leary, the CEO of the Ryanair Group, said:
“We will grow stronger in the next four or five years because of the pandemic. Partly because other airlines have gone bust, but also because we have been able to increase the size of our aircraft order with Boeing.”
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100+ MAX 10s?
If Ryanair does order MAX 10s, they are very likely to have 230 seats. This would be up from 189 seats with its current B737-800s and 197 seats coming with its B737 MAX 8 200s – or “B737 8200s”, as the ULCC calls the aircraft to dissociate it from the MAX name.
As it currently stands, the Group has 210 MAX aircraft on order, helped by an additional 75 confirmed in December 2020. While there is doubt over when exactly it will receive its first aircraft, the last are due in 2026. This suggests that MAX 10s would then be for the next phase of growth.
Ryanair is famous for many things, including negotiating new aircraft when few others want them. This then shifts negotiating power in its direction, so it can achieve lower prices per aircraft, although no one outside of the two companies knows exactly what they pay.
Stronger economics, stronger competition
Ryanair calls the B737 8200 a “gamechanger” on account of more seats and a roughly 16% lower fuel burn than its current aircraft. The MAX 10s, with 33 additional seats, would be in an altogether different league. They’d also help compete more effectively with Wizz Air’s 239-seat A321neos, of which it has 23 in active service and 212 on order (including XLRs), ch-aviation.com shows.
The appeal of the MAX 10 is logical. It goes to the heart of how Ryanair thinks about the economics of aircraft and what they enable. It is all about lowering costs, lowering fares, and carrying more passengers, as shown here. Crucially, though, it doesn’t want aircraft with too many seats to fill or where the trip cost (the cost to fly A-B) is too much. It’s a careful balance.
Larger aircraft = lower seat-mile costs = lower fares = more passengers = lower airport/passenger charges = lower fares = more passengers = more fares/ancillaries = more revenue
Indeed, Ryanair describes itself as a ‘yield passive, load factor active’ airline. This means it cares more about the number of ‘bums on seats’, seat load factor, and trip revenue than it does about how much each person pays.
451 aircraft currently
- 421x B737-800s: 335 active, 86 inactive
- 29x A320s: six active; 23 inactive
- 1x B737-700: inactive (training/charters)
A320s going from 2022
It has been confirmed that the A320s, all operated by Lauda Europe, will begin leaving from winter 2022 and will take three to four years to exit fully. This summer, they’ll mainly operate from Vienna, Palma, and Zadar, analyzing schedules submitted by the airline to OAG reveals.
While the A320s were considered important as a bargaining chip in negotiating new aircraft orders, Ryanair has decided to concentrate fully on Boeing.
Are you flying Ryanair this summer? Let us know in the comments.