Ryanair Expects 30-40 Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft In Operation By Summer 2021

Commenting after Ryanair’s Annual General Meeting, Ryanair Group Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said he hopes to take delivery of the first 737 MAX jets in January or February 2021. Furthermore, O’Leary disclosed that he hopes to be in possession of 30 to 40 MAXs before the summer.

MAX 200 Ryanair
Ryanair is the launch customer for the MAX 200. Photo: Ryanair

Growing the Ryanair fleet

In speaking with Irish news outlet RTÉ News, Michael O’Leary has reportedly disclosed that Ryanair will be taking delivery of 30-40 aircraft before the summer of 2021. This will be done to boost growth.

According to data from Boeing, the airline has 135 still on order and undelivered. Ryanair’s website confirms this, stating that these 135 undelivered jets are Boeing 737 MAX 200s. Ryanair also adds that it has options for 75 more MAX 200s, “which will enable Ryanair to grow its fleet to 585 by 2024.”

The average age of the Ryanair fleet is approximately 6.5 years, and is set to get younger with the latest aircraft order. -Ryanair

Ryanair, Boeing 737 MAX, Refunds
Ryanair expected its first Boeing 737 MAX in April 2019, which means that if new delivery estimates hold true, the first Ryanair MAX will be about 21 months late. Photo: Getty Images

RTÉ News asked O’Leary if his airline might seek to increase its orders of Boeing 737 MAX. O’Leary responded by saying the following:

“Certainly, there is negotiations about our existing orders, repricing the existing orders and also quantifying the compensation we will receive for the very long delay in the delivery of these aircraft, and we’d hope to conclude those negotiations by the end of the year…But anything else is highly speculative.” -Michael O’Leary, CEO, Ryanair Group

Ryanair’s all-737 fleet

Currently, Ryanair has a large fleet of over 450 aircraft. Data from Planespotters.net states that all of the jets flying under the Ryanair brand are the Next Generation Series of Boeing 737s. The one interesting aspect of this data is that a single aircraft is a 737-700 while all others are the longer -800 jets. This is actually Ryanair’s corporate jet, which seats up to 60 passengers across 15 rows of 2-2 seating.

Meanwhile, non-737 jets are A320s, which are operated by Ryanair subsidiary Lauda.

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Ryanair Boeing 737 MAX Delay
The 200 seat aircraft requires separate certification due to its additional emergency exits. Photo: Ryanair

Ryanair’s special 737 MAXs

There’s also a peculiar aspect to Ryanair’s future fleet of 737s. While the overall dimensions of the aircraft match the 737 MAX 8, these jets were actually going to have the designation “737 MAX 200.”

The difference between the MAX 200 and the MAX 8 is in its seat density. By placing more seats in the same amount of space, Ryanair is able to reduce costs per seat and generate additional revenue. While most airlines can adjust seat densities and cabin configurations without changing the aircraft name or designation, Ryanair’s high-density version requires an extra exit door to allow a sufficiently rapid evacuation in the event of an emergency.

The MAX 200 has reportedly undergone a name change and will be designated as the 737-8200. The name change was noticed in July 2019 and was suspected to be a reaction to the bad publicity the MAX name has received after two fatal crashes.

If we are going to see Ryanair fly the 737 MAX next summer, will you fly on it? Let us know why or why not in the comments.