Ryanair’s CEO Eddie Wilson confirmed on Thursday that the airline would be deploying its first 737 MAX aircraft on services in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, he criticized the Irish government’s slow roll-out of the vaccine, the logistics of which he compared to that of an airline.
First delivery in the coming months
Speaking to Irish independent radio station Newstalk on Thursday, Ryanair’s CEO Eddie Wilson discussed the airline’s flight cancellations resulting from the third round of lockdowns in Ireland and the UK.
What’s more, during the interview, Mr Wilson confirmed that Ryanair would soon be operating the 737 MAX. When asked by the interviewer, host Pat Kenny, whether or not Ryanair would be flying the MAX this summer, Mr Wilson responded,
“Yes, we will. We will be taking delivery and deploying those probably initially in the UK.”
Aviation regulators have ungrounded the 737 MAX in the US, Brazil, and Mexico. The EASA is yet to follow suit but has signaled that it is prepared to recertify the 737 MAX for a return to service in Europe by the end of January. Ryanair is hoping to take delivery of its first in the coming months and has said it is expecting to operate 30 to 40 of the plane by this summer.
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Critical of slow vaccine roll-out
Regarding the airline’s controversial “jab-and-go” commercial, Mr Wilson said in Thursday’s interview that some people may not have liked it, but that it was factually accurate as vaccines are underway and that they would reopen travel.
He also compared the logistics of vaccine roll-outs to running an airline and did not hold back in his critique of the Irish government’s efforts thus far.
“Why didn’t they start earlier? I don’t get delivery of a Boeing 737 from Seattle, take it out of the wrapper here and ask everybody at Ryanair what do you think we should do with it? We know before the aircraft is manufactured where we are going to deploy it, how we are going to put it into service, and on which routes,” Mr Wilson said and added that a plan should have been in place already in November.
Will use the MAX to “rapidly restore flights”
Ryanair has orders for 210 Boeing 737 MAX. Its first 100-strong firm order for the aircraft was placed in 2014. Another ten followed in 2017, and 25 in 2018. The carrier also made headlines in early December as it placed an order for an additional 75, following the type’s ungrounding in the US. Ryanair is the launch customer for the high-capacity 737-8 variant, which will allow it to seat 197 passengers.
“As soon as the COVID-19 virus recedes (…) Ryanair and our partner airports across Europe will – with these environmentally efficient aircraft – rapidly restore flights and schedules, recover lost traffic and help the nations of Europe recover their tourism industries,” Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said in a statement at the time, seen by Simple Flying.
Simple Flying has reached out to Ryanair for more detail on its MAX plans but was yet to receive a reply at the time of publication. This article will be updated when a response is received.
Will you be flying on the MAX when it is deployed by airlines? Let us know how you feel about the plane’s return in the comment.