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Ryanair hopes to receive first Boeing 737 MAX 200 in March/April 2020

written by WOFA | November 5, 2019

An artist's impression of a Boeing 737 MAX 200 in Ryanair livery. (Ryanair/Boeing)
An artist’s impression of a Boeing 737 MAX 200 in Ryanair livery. (Ryanair/Boeing)

Low-cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair says it expects to receive its Boeing 737 MAX 200 in March or April 2020, should regulators give the grounded aircraft type the all clear.

While this was about two months later than it previously expected, Ryanair said in its half year results released on Monday (European time) the risk of further delays was rising.

Also, Ryanair said it was planning to take delivery of just 20 737 MAX 200s in time for the northern summer 2020 season, almost a third of the 58 aircraft it had forecast to receive.

As a consequence, its growth rate has been cut by more than half to three per cent, down from seven per cent previously. This represented a five million reduction in total passengers.

“Sadly, due to the MAX delivery delays, we will be forced to cut or close a number of loss making bases this winter leading to pilot and cabin crew job losses,” Ryanair said.

“We continue to work with our people and their unions to finalise this process.”

Boeing has slowed production and paused deliveries of the 737 MAX aircraft after the global grounding of the fleet following two fatal crashes.

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The first accident involving a Lion Air 737 MAX 8 occurred in October 2018. This was followed less than six months later with an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 in March 2019. The two tragedies killed 346 people. There were no survivors.

An anti-stall software on the 737 MAX, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), has been implicated in both incidents.

The aerospace giant has been working on software improvements to MCAS and changes to pilot training procedures.

The company has said previously it hoped to have the aircraft back in the air by the end of calendar 2019.

Ryanair has 135 737 MAX 200s on order. As the name suggests, the 737 MAX 200 has a maximum seating capacity of 200 seats, 11 more than the 189-seat maximum currently on the 737-800 and 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

The 200-seat limit is reached by having additional exit doors, which increases the exit limit of the aircraft. But Ryanair has said previously it would configure its MAX 200s with 197 seats, saving it from having to carry an additional flight attendant under the one flight attendant per 50 passengers rule.

“We remain confident that these gamechanger aircraft, which have four per cent more seats, but burn 16 per cent less fuel when delivered will transform our cost base and our business for the next decade,” Ryanair said.

“Due to these delivery delays, we will not see any of these expected cost savings delivered until FY21.”

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