Will Passengers Welcome The Boeing 737 MAX Back? Ryanair’s O’Leary Thinks So

Irish low cost carrier Ryanair are confident that the customer reaction to the Boeing 737 MAX coming back into service will be positive. CEO Michael O’Leary has said ‘they will love it’ and is predicting his airline will be operating at least five of the planes by October.

Ryanair 737 MAX
Ryanair’s CEO thinks passengers will ‘love it’ Photo: Boeing

As the largest European buyer of the Boeing 737 MAX, Ryanair can’t afford for its return to service to be anything less than a success. In the past, their CEO has called the plane a ‘game changer’ and has said that the carrier has ‘utmost confidence’ in the type.

Speaking to Bloomberg, CEO Michael O’Leary said,

“We see no indication yet from passengers of any concern about the Max aircraft. [Once passengers fly on the plane] they will love it, and it will be a massive success for Boeing,”

The low cost airline was due to receive the first of its 135 Boeing 737 MAX last month. However, deliveries have been halted by Ryanair, as they await the findings of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

What do passengers say?

Despite O’Leary’s confidence that the return of the MAX (you know that it’ll be back) will be smooth sailing, not all passengers are in agreement. A Quora thread entitled ‘Would you fly on a 737 MAX’ threw up a variety of conflicting opinions, including:

  • Once the MAX series is recertified, I…might give it a year before I risk it
  • If it is flown by a US or EU airline.
  • People generally don’t care about what type of plane they’re on. They’ll make decisions based on price, schedule, or frequent flyer loyalty.
  • No – same as the senator on the US aviation panel – I would prefer not to fly it.

And of course, the ever faithful Twitterati have plenty to say on the subject…

There have been a few interesting polls too, the majority of which point to a low level of public confidence in the MAX.

However, there’s one which we think just about sums it all up…

O’Leary is probably right in some respects, that people won’t complain too much about flying the MAX when it comes back into service. At the end of the day, the majority of the short haul leisure travelers who Ryanair caters to won’t even think to check their equipment before they make a booking. Likely they wouldn’t care anyway, being more focused on low fares than slick rides.

Ryanair expect their planes by October

Although Ryanair aren’t the largest customer of the MAX, they are the largest in Europe. Southwest are by far the biggest worldwide, having ordered 280 from Boeing, followed by FlyDubai with 250 and Lion Air with 201 (although some question marks hang over that particular order).

Ryanair 737 MAX
Ryanair will operate a dense 200 seat configuration of the 737 MAX. Photo: Ryanair

Ryanair are confident that the MAX will return to service relatively soon, with O’Leary predicting FAA approval by June or July, as reported by Skift. He expects the EASA to take their time doing their own checks, but for the aircraft to be back in European skies around a month later than that.

The carrier expects their own 737 MAX to begin being delivered by the autumn, saying they are planning on having five MAX jets in service by October ready for the winter schedule. They anticipate 44 planes to be delivered by summer 2020.