The Boeing 737 MAX 200 has received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration. Ryanair expects to take delivery of the first 737 MAX 8200 aircraft during April, representing a delivery delay of around two years.
As we move into the sixth month of Boeing 737 MAX recertification, the number of operators of the type continues to increase week on week, with almost every continent represented. However, one carrier keen to fly the jet has been noticeably absent from the mix. Ryanair currently has 210 firm orders for the type, having boosted its order book by 75 planes back in early December.
Certified in the United States
Today, the Federal Aviation Administration granted initial certification for Boeing’s low-cost carrier version of the 737 MAX 8, known as the 8-200. The news was first spotted by The Air Current’s Jon Ostrower and confirmed by the FAA to Simple Flying. In a statement to Simple Flying, an FAA spokesperson said,
“The Federal Aviation Administration approved the design for the Boeing 737-8200, which is part of the Boeing 737 MAX series. The 737-8200 incorporated all of the design improvements that were part of the 20-month review of the 737 MAX, including those related to Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).”
Meanwhile, a Boeing spokesperson added,
“We continue to work with global regulators to safely return the 737-8 and -9 to service. Our teams are also focused on ensuring future members of the 737 family meet all regulatory requirements.”
A few more hurdles remain for Ryanair
The FAA had initially been working to certify the type right around when it was initially grounded. However, the FAA’s certification of the new aircraft is just one hurdle that the Irish carrier will need to overcome. Next, it will need EASA to give the aircraft the all-clear in EU airspace and the CAA to provide the thumbs up for UK airspace.
A week ago, Ryanair Group CEO, Michael O’Leary commented on the MAX 8200’s certification status, telling reporters,
“We’re hoping that the MAX 200 will be certified by the FAA sometime later this week, and then by EASA either later this week or early next week. In those circumstances, we would expect to take probably our first MAX delivery, the gamechanger aircraft, in April.”
According to O’Leary, Ryanair hopes to take up to eight 737 MAX aircraft throughout April, with another eight in May. No deliveries are currently planned for June. This is typically when Ryanair is at its busiest, so maintenance is focused on keeping planes in the air, rather than accepting new ones.
He added that given the current impact on the airline’s schedules, the aircraft are not actually needed. However, Ryanair is keen to fly them as soon as it can get its hands on them. This is partially due to the aircraft’s increased efficiencies, and so pilots and cabin crew can begin to get familiar with the new model.
Ryanair’s ‘gamechanger’ aircraft will seat 197 passengers. To accommodate the increased number, the aircraft is equipped with an additional set of emergency exits behind the wing. These led to it needing additional certification above the MAX 8 model it is based on. However, by increasing the number of passengers on its planes, Ryanair can increase profits while driving down the CO2 emitted per passenger.
When do you think Ryanair will take their first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!