Budget airline Ryanair has placed an order for an additional 75 Boeing 737 Max 200s. In 2014 the carrier initially ordered 100 of the densely-configured aircraft. Later the order increased to 135, and with the latest addition, the number is now 210.
Ryanair said that it expects to receive its first 737 Max 200 in early 2021, and, according to group CEO Michael O’Leary, the airline hopes to take delivery of at least 50 of the aircraft next year.
The total value of the order stands at over $22 billion, with deliveries set to run until the end of 2024. Ryanair also said that it had an undisclosed compensation package with Boeing “for the direct costs incurred by Ryanair over the past 18 months due to these delivery delays,” with some of this compensation “factored into a modest reduction in the pricing of this new aircraft order.”
Last month the Federal Aviation Administration lifted its order which grounded the entire fleet of 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft, following two fatal crashes in 2019 which killed 346 people.
After a 20-month redesign and often contentious public debate, the FAA required Boeing to make a series of software changes, wiring and hardware redesign and develop new pilot training requirements before airlines get the go-ahead to fly the plane again.
O’Leary said, “We are working closely with Boeing and our senior pilot professionals to assist our regulator EASA to certify these aircraft in Europe, and to complete the training of our pilots and crews across our 3 new Boeing MAX simulators in Dublin and Stansted.”
Ryanair said it will use the aircraft “to grow its low fare services into new EU countries and markets, which will incentivize Europe’s consumers and its travel industry to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, as quickly as multiple vaccines are rolled out in 2021, and life returns to normal.”
According to O’Leary, “The Boeing Max is a fabulous aircraft with more seats, more leg room, lower fares, lower fuel consumption, and it sets incredible environmental standards, including 40 percent less noise and lower CO2 emissions.”
The Ryanair news comes on the heels of an announcement by Alaska Airlines that it is boosting its order for the 737 Max 9s by 13 more aircraft, bringing its total to 45 aircraft. Alaska Air says it plans to start flying the Max by March.
Southwest Airlines – currently the largest operator of the 737 Max with 34 aircraft already in its fleet – said last month that it anticipates the resumption of 737 Max flights “no sooner than the second quarter of 2021”.