230 Seat 737s: Ryanair In Talks With Boeing To Order 100+ MAX 10s

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.

230 Seat 737s: Ryanair In Talks With Boeing To Order 100+ MAX 10s
Ryanair may order 100+ 737 MAX 10s, supplementing existing and on-order aircraft. Photo: Getty Images.

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.”

230 Seat 737s: Ryanair In Talks With Boeing To Order 100+ MAX 10s
The Ryanair Group expects around 600 aircraft by peak summer 2026. Photo: Getty Images.

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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.

230 Seat 737s: Ryanair In Talks With Boeing To Order 100+ MAX 10s
Ryanair’s fleet plan as of December 2020. Source: Ryanair.

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.

230 Seat 737s: Ryanair In Talks With Boeing To Order 100+ MAX 10s
Ryanair’s “B737 8200” aircraft are expected to be delivered by 2026, with MAX 10s, if they’re ordered, appearing from then onwards. Image: Ryanair.

451 aircraft currently

The Ryanair Group of airlines – Ryanair, Ryanair UK, Buzz, Malta Air, and Lauda Europe – currently have 451 aircraft, ch-aviation.com indicates. Of these, 341 are active, along with 110 that are parked. The Group’s fleet presently comprises:
  • 421x B737-800s: 335 active, 86 inactive
  • 29x A320s: six active; 23 inactive
  • 1x B737-700: inactive (training/charters)
230 Seat 737s: Ryanair In Talks With Boeing To Order 100+ MAX 10s
The Ryanair Group has 421 active and inactive 189-seat B737-800s. MAX 10s would have 22% more seats per flight than the 738. Photo: Getty Images.

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.

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