Ryanair’s first Boeing 737 MAX is on its way to Ireland. The aircraft took off from Seattle just moments ago, and is scheduled to fly nonstop for almost nine hours before arriving in Dublin. This is the first 737 MAX 8-200 to leave Boeing, and marks a delay of more than two years since Ryanair expected to receive its first new-generation airplane.
The MAX 200 is on its way
The highly anticipated day has arrived. Ryanair’s first 737 MAX 8-200 ‘gamechanger’ aircraft is finally on its way. EI-HEN has been spotted on flight trackers heading to Europe, as it prepares to enter service with the low-cost giant.
The brand new plane left Seattle (BFI) at 01:00 PDT and is headed for Dublin (DUB). The trip will take almost nine hours to complete, with an estimated landing time of around 18:00 local time tonight.
The distance from BFI to DUB is estimated at 4,535 miles (7,298 km). That’s beyond the published range of the MAX 8, which Boeing states is 4,083 miles (6,570 km). It is thanks to having no passengers or baggage onboard that the narrowbody will have enough additional juice in the tank to make this mammoth journey in just one hop.
The aircraft is painted in Ryanair colors, meaning it will go to the main Ryanair airline. Other MAX 8-200s have been spotted in the livery of Malta Air and Buzz, the Ryanair subsidiaries, so it was uncertain which airline would take the first. Now, we know the Irish airline will be the first to fly the type.
Ryanair had expected to take delivery of its first MAX 8-200 in April 2019. However, following the two tragic accidents involving the type, the subsequent grounding meant deliveries were paused. More than two years later, today, the low-cost behemoth will be celebrating the arrival of this unique narrowbody aircraft.
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Delivery at last
Europe’s largest low-cost airline will be the first in the world to fly the special 200-seat variant of Boeing’s latest narrowbody plane. The 8-200 has had to have an extra emergency exit fitted, and subsequent type certification, in order to comply with exit limit regulations. Certification was completed in April, with the FAA stating,
“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).”
Ryanair’s CEO had expected to take delivery of as many as eight 737 MAX in April and another eight in May. However, some holdups were reported, with Ryanair casting doubt on the timeline for deliveries. CEO Michael O’Leary even said that he wasn’t sure if he would have any of the aircraft in time for the summer peak period. He said,
“As the management team in Seattle continues to mismanage that process I think there is a real risk we might not see any of these aircraft in advance of summer 2021.”
Now, it seems Boeing has come through with the first of the ‘gamechanger’ aircraft. As Ryanair is keen to take delivery of as many as possible, as quickly as possible, we can expect a few more to be on their way from Seattle to Europe in the coming weeks.
Arrival in Dublin
As the aircraft arrived in Dublin, CEO of the Ryanair Group Michael O’Leary issued the following statement:
“We are delighted to take delivery of our first new technology Gamchanger aircraft. These new Boeing 737 aircraft will help Ryanair lower costs, cut fuel consumption and lower noise and CO2 emissions as we invest heavily in new technology to deepen our environmental commitment as Europe’s greenest, cleanest major airline. Each B737 aircraft offers 197 seats (compared to our 189-seat current 737 fleet). However, our customers will enjoy more leg room, new Boeing “Sky Interiors” and lower fares, while reducing their environmental footprint by switching to these new aircraft.
“Due to regrettable delivery delays, we expect to take delivery of just 12 of these aircraft during Summer 2021, with 6 delivering in Ryanair colours and 6 in Malta Air colours.
“Ryanair expects to take delivery of an additional 50 of these B737 “Gamechanger” aircraft before Summer 2022, which will enable the Ryanair Group to rebound strongly, offering new routes, lower fares, and rapid traffic recovery to many partner airports across Europe as the tourism industry rebuilds from the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020/2021”.