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Ryanair hints it may decline 737 MAX deliveries

written by Hannah Dowling | June 4, 2021

Artists impression of a 737 MAX in Ryanair livery (Ryanair/Boeing).

Despite months of endorsing Boeing and its embattled 737 MAX, Ryanair has signalled it may decline to accept the delivery of its first MAX jets, following lengthy delays in the process.

The European budget carrier has been waiting nearly two years for its 737 MAX 8200s, a variant of the MAX 8 with extra seating built specifically for Ryanair’s budget needs, as the jet’s certification was held up during the 20-month grounding of the MAX.

Now, Ryanair chief executive Eddie Wilson has said that Boeing is still yet to give Ryanair a set date for delivery, and that the airline may decline to take delivery should the US planemaker attempt to schedule delivery during the current busy summer travel season.

“We need a definitive date as to when we’re going to get the airplane and then we’ve got to decide … whether that suits us to take them or not because in the normal course of events we don’t take aircraft in the summer months,” Wilson said.

Ryanair had already previously announced a revised delivery schedule for its first MAX jets in order to avoid deliveries being made in June.

The ongoing delays largely stem from the additional certification requirements for Ryanair’s unique 737 MAX 8200 variant.

While the 737 MAX 8 was recertified to fly by the US Federal Aviation Administration in November 2020, the MAX 8200, which includes an additional exit door in order to meet regulations and allow additional passengers onboard, didn’t achieve its first certification until April this year.


However, Wilson suggested in an interview with Reuters that ongoing disputes between Boeing and the FAA are continuing to hold out the delivery of its first MAX 8200s.

“The release of that aircraft … has to do with a fairly straightforward issue. And it’s how the interface between Boeing and the FAA is going to work in matters like that and they have to iron that out once and for all,” Wilson said.

“It’s really up to Boeing at Seattle to bed in that relationship with the FAA in dealing with issues of certification and how they have to do things differently. That’s what it looks like,” he said.

Ryanair made its first order for the 197-seat MAX 8200 jet in late 2014. The agreement included 100 firm orders and 100 options. Ryanair later made another firm order for 10 jets in 2017, and a further 25 in 2018.

Then, 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, in a public show of confidence for Boeing and the MAX.

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

Despite the delays, the airline has long thrown its support behind the aircraft, with O’Leary marking it as a commercial and financial “gamechanger”, as the 737 MAX can carry 4 per cent more passengers, with 16 per cent less fuel burn, than its 737 predecessor.


  • Ronnie


    I expect Boeing now have extra work to do to convince the FAA of what they have done to squeeze 197 seats into the MAX, because Boeing have apparently allegedly according to some reports failed to undertake proper due diligence in supervising some of their suppliers, assemble some major assemblies correctly, provide earthing for electrical modules, ensure slat tracks are manufactured to specification and allegedly reportedly and apparently perhaps many other major or minor things that the FAA are allegedly reportedly and apparently investigating further. So I don’t think Ryanair should worry about deliveries during the Summer as its unlikely Boeing will get through the FAA checks real soon, IMHO.

  • Ben


    Given the workarounds required to get the LEAP-1B under the wings of the existing design (itself modified twice to get the CFM56-3 then later the CFM56-7 under there), I’m going to guess that the FAA is finally looking a little harder at the grandfathered and not really tested evacuation requirements of these stretches. Indeed Airbus made this point of the 747-8i vs the A380 because the 747’s grandfathered design didn’t require a secondary forward path from what is traditionally the first class cabin up in the nose (left from L1). Worth noting the original 737-100 held less passengers than the smallest MAX variant does and the 8200 jams over twice as many in there. Have any real trials happened in the intervening 50 something years, or just models and simulations?

    • Adrian P


      A Specialist Paper prepared by the Flight Operations Group of the Royal Aeronautical Society
      An interesting read , page 21 refers to your question.
      “Over the years the Boeing 737 has evolved into many variants, the most recent being the installation and repositioning of larger engines on the wings. The Boeing 737 Max-10 has a maximum passenger seating capacity of 230. It has three pairs of floor level exits and two pairs of overwing exits. But how did this aeroplane progress from its 1960s status to the present day? Boeing for more than 40 years has claimed ‘grandfather rights’ for certification of the B737 thereby requiring no new initial type certification. This has been accepted by the FAA and subsequently endorsed by other NAA’s.
      It seems that Boeing is not alone in this respect since Airbus is following similar criteria with the A321neo, which have been accepted by EASA. The same applies in respect of cabin crew exit training requirements for the Airbus A330-200/300, A340-600 and A350-1000.”

  • Adrian P


    It is also important to read the passenger safety card because the last time I flew on a 737 the card showed that the rear most exits were not available when ditching because there are no life rafts at that location.
    The front and over wing exits have life rafts but they have to be extracted from lockers.

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