Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary stated that he expects customers to enjoy flying on the Boeing 737 MAX when it returns to service. As such, he doesn’t believe that many people will seek to avoid the aircraft. The comments came as the airline today ordered a further 75 of Boeing’s latest generation narrowbody.
The Boeing 737 MAX has returned to the skies above the USA following the FAA’s recertification of the aircraft. While it remains grounded in Europe for the time being, Irish giant Ryanair is keen to begin operations of the type following its first delivery expected in early 2021.
Passengers will enjoy flying on the MAX
During a Q&A session as part of its order announcement earlier today, Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary expressed his belief that passengers mostly won’t seek to avoid flying on the 737 MAX. O’Leary commented,
“We’ll let people offload [from a MAX] if they want. I don’t think they’ll be very many. In fact, there won’t be, because this is a great aircraft, we’re very confident in it. We think it’s a brilliant aircraft and we’re sure our customers will share, not just our enthusiasm for the aircraft, but will enjoy flying on it the way we will.”
What is the chance of flying on the MAX?
As of today’s order, Ryanair now has 210 firm orders for the 737 MAX. The airline currently has 433 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, according to Planespotters.net. Assuming Ryanair doesn’t retire any of these aircraft before the entire MAX order is delivered, it would have 643 aircraft, excluding its corporate jet.
In this case, passengers would have a one in three chance of flying on a 737 MAX. However, given that the airline will inevitably retire some of its older aircraft, the chance of flying on a MAX will eventually be higher. As the airline is only planning to have 25-30 aircraft this summer, the initial probabilities of flying on the aircraft are low.
What if you don’t want to fly on the MAX?
Ryanair has been clear that it will accommodate anybody who doesn’t want to fly on the 737 MAX for the first three to six months of operations. In March, O’Leary told Simple Flying that such passengers would be able to get a refund. Today, he said that passengers would be allowed to wait for the next non-MAX aircraft going to their destination.
Ryanair has said that due to the way its scheduling system works, it will be unable to inform passengers if they’re flying on a MAX in advance, as they schedule individual aircraft with reasonably short notice. However, one of the airline’s key selling points of the aircraft is that CO2 emissions per head are lower because it will carry up to 197 passengers.
To sell the additional eight seats, it would have to know which flights are being operated by the MAX, as the airline never overbooks flights. Additionally, if it wants to make money off of the additional legroom in the new emergency row, it will need to add this to the seat map. When questioned about this, a Ryanair representative declined to comment. If you want to know how to tell if you’re flying on the 737 MAX when you get to the gate, take a look at our guide.
Would you fly on Ryanair’s Boeing 737 MAX? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!