Just over two weeks ago, Ryanair introduced its first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into active passenger-carrying service. The Irish low-cost carrier has begun operating flights using the high-density MAX 200 variant of Boeing’s next-generation narrowbody. Despite the type’s tainted safety record, it reports that no passengers have refused to fly on the MAX thus far.
A strong start to service
June 24th was a significant day in European aviation for multiple reasons. As well as seeing Icelandic low-cost carrier PLAY take to the skies for the first time, this date also saw Ryanair’s first revenue-earning Boeing 737 MAX-operated flight.
It received its first 197-seat, high density 737 MAX 200 aircraft a week before, flying directly from Seattle to Dublin. The inaugural service took the first 737 MAX 200, registered as EI-HEN, from one key Ryanair hub to another.
Specifically, it flew from Dublin to London Stansted. The MAX 200 differs from the standard MAX 8 in the sense that it has an additional set of emergency exits. This allows operators to squeeze more passengers onboard than normal.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.
No refusals to travel
The MAX was grounded between March 2019 and November 2020 after two similar fatal accidents involving the type. As such, many airlines prepared for nervous passengers to refuse to fly on the aircraft. Ryanair was one of these, with CEO Michael O’Leary stating in 2020 that passengers could have their tickets refunded if they refused to travel on the type.
More recently, in December, O’Leary underlined his confidence in the troubled narrowbody. He stated at the time that passengers would enjoy flying on the MAX, and that he didn’t expect many people to refuse to travel. As it happens, this has turned out to be true.
Indeed, AIN Online reports that, in the first 20 flights that the carrier operated with the MAX, there wasn’t a single refusal to travel. These services flew from Dublin, Stansted, and Milan Bergamo, and had an average load factor of 75%. Calling their entry into service “fantastic,” O’Leary also spoke of their environmental promise, telling AIN:
“We think they will deliver what [Boeing] promised – 4% more seats [compared with its 189-seat 737-800s] but probably a 16-17 % lower fuel consumption per seat and 40 % less CO2 emissions.”
A huge order
According to data from ch-aviation.com, Ryanair presently has four of its new Boeing 737 MAX 200 aircraft in its fleet. Of these, two are currently active. As can be seen above, the next delivery is inbound for Dublin, and should touch down at around 18:30 local time today.
— RadarBox (@RadarBox24) July 9, 2021
While Ryanair’s present MAX fleet only consists of a handful of aircraft, the carrier has big plans for the type. It has ordered a total of 210 of these aircraft, and they will become an increasingly common sight in Europe in months and years to come. The airline will hope it can keep up its record of having no passengers refuse to travel on the type.
Are you planning to fly on one of Ryanair’s Boeing 737 MAX aircraft any time soon? Perhaps you’ve already done so? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.