As Ryanair prepares to take delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX, the airline has also purchased another simulator for the jet. The simulators will be key to prepare pilots to fly the recertified MAX, especially since Ryanair didn’t previously fly the aircraft type.
Along with its order for 75 new 737 MAXs, Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair has also ordered a new simulator for the variant. The simulator will be made by MPS and used for type rating on the 737 MAX and training in line with the EU’s ungrounding of the MAX. The new simulator will remain at Ryanair’s Dublin facility.
This isn’t Ryanair’s first simulator, however. The carrier took its first simulator in March 2019, the same month the MAX was grounded for 20 months. The first MAX simulator is housed in London’s Stansted Airport and more have since joined the facility. In total, the airline plans to have five simulators for the MAX and operates nearly 20 in total.
For Ryanair, buying these simulators is a long-term investment considering the group has 210 aircraft on order. With the 737 MAX likely staying in the fleet for at least another decade, the carrier will have to train and retrain thousands of pilots in the coming years. Ryanair has simulators across Europe, namely Bergamo, Dublin, East Midlands, and Stansted.
In January 2020, Boeing confirmed that pilots flying the MAX would need additional simulator training. This was a stunning reversal from the planemaker’s earlier promise of 737 pilots needing only minimal training to fly the latest iteration. However, the two crashes led to deep regulatory scrutiny and top-notch safety requirements.
This posed a huge problem for airlines considering there were only 34 simulators available at the time, according to The Times. While a few major operators like Southwest, American, Ryanair, and United already had simulators at the time, most had to send their pilots abroad for training.
However, the 737 MAX simulators themselves had flaws early on and required changes to certify pilots. Fast forward two years later and airlines globally have finally managed to train their pilots and return the MAX to the skies.
For Ryanair, the next month is shaping up to be an action-packed one. CEO Michael O’Leary recently said that the special 737 MAX 8 200 could be certified as soon as early April. The certification would allow Ryanair to take delivery of 16 aircraft by the lucrative summer season.
While demand is low right now, Ryanair is planning a huge summer schedule to cater to rebounding traffic. There is no guarantee that this summer traffic will materialize, the low-cost airline remains ambitious about its future.
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