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Ryanair to welcome new 737 MAX jets to fleet within days

written by Hannah Dowling | April 15, 2021

European budget giant Ryanair is gearing up to take delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX in the coming days, after a delay of more than two years.

Ryanair group chief executive Michael O’Leary told CNBC on Wednesday that the airline was taking its first delivery of the 737 MAX “in the next number of days”.

The airline chief also referred to the jet as its “737 Gamechanger aircraft”, rather than using its MAX title.

O’Leary has long called the MAX a “gamechanger” for Ryanair, thanks to the fact that the jet can carry 4 per cent more passengers while burning 16 per cent less fuel than the traditional 737.

The airline, the largest European MAX customer, already has 210 firm orders for the jet.

Ryanair was initially scheduled to take delivery of its first MAX jets over two years ago, however these plans veered significantly off course due to the 22-month grounding of the jet following two fatal crashes.


The news comes just two weeks after the US Federal Aviation Administration approved the design for the Boeing 737-8200, the variant of the embattled MAX family of aircraft bound for Ryanair.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) followed suit shortly after.

The denser, 197-seat MAX variant is specifically designed for budget carriers, with Ryanair being its biggest supporter and launch customer.

Ryanair made its first order for the 197-seat jet in late 2014. The agreement includes 100 firm orders and 100 options. Ryanair later made another firm order for 10 jets in 2017, and a further 25 in 2018.

Before Ryanair could take delivery of any of its aircraft, the entire fleet of 737 MAX jets were grounded in May 2019, following the second of two fatal crashes that killed 346 people in total.

The crashes were later identified to have been caused in part by faults in the plane’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System.

Following a months-long process of safety upgrades and test flights, the FAA was the first to lift its grounding order on the jet in November 2020.

Just weeks after recertification, in December 2020, Ryanair announced an order for a further 75 MAX aircraft in a deal worth over $9 billion.

Ryanair group chief executive Michael O’Leary called the December 737 MAX order “the deal of the century”, after touting the airline would secure the deal at a significant discount.

However, a delay in the certification of the MAX 200, first by the FAA and then the EASA, has seen Ryanair forced to reduce the number of MAX jets it intends to welcome by the crucial European summer season from 24 to 16.

Under the new delivery schedule, the European airline expects to receive eight MAX jets each month in April and May, and none in June.


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