It’s been over two years since Ryanair had expected to launch services with the Boeing 737 MAX. While the type ordered by Ryanair has now been certified, it’s not clear when the first of the jets will finally be delivered, leading some to wonder if the Irish low-cost carrier will fly the plane at all this summer.
The Boeing 737 MAX 200 is set to be a gamechanger for Ryanair, offering increased capacity per aircraft, tied with decreased fuel consumption. This is a double win for Ryanair, with the cost of flying reducing while potential profits increase. Linked with this, the airline also benefits from the environmental benefits of reduced fuel consumption.
Will Ryanair fly the MAX this summer?
The more days pass, the more it looks as though Ryanair will endure a third summer without planned 737 MAX capacity. Previously, delays to deliveries had been on Boeing’s end. However, if deliveries begin in summer, Ryanair may not accept them straight away.
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The issue lies in the airline’s typically annual maintenance cycle. For most airlines, the summer is the peak period, while winters are quieter months. Excluding current circumstances, the same is true at Ryanair. As such, the airline typically doesn’t accept deliveries during the warmest months.
When a new aircraft is delivered, it needs to undergo entry to service maintenance checks. Meanwhile, the airline’s maintenance personnel are already engaged in keeping the existing fleet in the skies. As such, there is no additional manpower to complete these checks.
Talking to Reuters, the airline’s CEO Eddie Wilson confirmed that this was the case, commenting,
“We need a definitive date as to when we’re going to get the airplane and then we’ve got to decide… whether that suits us to take them or not because in the normal course of events we don’t take aircraft in the summer months”
What is Ryanair expecting?
Ryanair now has firm orders for 210 737 MAX jets. Most recently, 75 planes were added to the order in December, after the type was ungrounded last year. The order is worth over $22 billion at list prices. At the time of the order, the airline group’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, commented that he hoped Ryanair would take at least 50 jets in 2021.
The delays to delivery are largely down to the type of aircraft that Ryanair has ordered. The Irish LCC is one of two airlines expecting the 737 MAX 200, a modified version of the 737 MAX 8, with an additional set of emergency exits. Because of the additional exits, the aircraft had required separate certification beyond the 737 MAX 8, which was not secured before the plane type was grounded.
Ryanair’s MAX aircraft will seat 197 passengers, an eight-passenger increase on the 189 seats in its existing 737-800 fleet. This will enable Ryanair to cut its emissions per passenger as the aircraft’s already lower emissions are divided between more travelers.
When do you think Ryanair will finally take its first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!