Irish low-cost Ryanair has placed an order with Boeing for 75 MAX 8-200s, confirming media reports from earlier this week. It brings the airline’s backlog for the high-density version of the MAX 8 to 210. The 75 were earlier listed as options. Deliveries are from Spring 2021 until December 2024.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary has been a staunch supporter of the MAX, praising its expected 16 percent lower fuel cost advantage while at the same time offering 197 or four percent more seats compared to the 737-800. The airline had counted on receiving the first aircraft by mid-2019, but the grounding of the type following the two much-publicized fatal accidents and the subsequent lengthy re-certification have delayed this. O’Leary said earlier he hoped to have some thirty MAX 8-200s in service by next summer, but this entirely depends on how quickly Boeing can deliver and re-deliver aircraft that have been in storage. For which the airline has been financially compensated by Boeing and received a discount on the new aircraft, it says.

Also, the MAX 8200 (as called by Ryanair in its press release) needs additional certification. With EASA still busy evaluating remarks from the industry on the re-certification and training process, it could take at least a few more months before Ryanair and its Polish subsidiary Buzz will be able to take delivery of the first aircraft. O’Leary, who flew over to Washington for the signing ceremony with Boeing, wants to capture the European leisure market as quickly as possible.

Ryanair placed an initial order for 100 MAX 8-200s plus 100 options in 2014. Another ten were ordered in 2017, with 25 more in 2018. Earlier, O’Leary said he didn’t rule out ordering even 200 more MAX 200s, but as the recovery from the Covid-crisis will take a few more years Ryanair has no need to buy that many aircraft now.

The airline hopes to have fifty deliveries in 2021, its financial year 2022, growing to 75 in FY23, 132 in FY24, 188 in FY2025 and 210 in FY26. The number of 737-800s will have been reduced from 419 in FY22 to 387 in FY25. It peaked in FY20 at 455.

The order is the biggest for the MAX since the order avalanche at the 2017 Paris Airshow, when the MAX 10 was launched. Following the groundings and especially because of the Covid-crisis, Boeing has lost 1.043 orders for the type until November 1. A Memorandum of Understanding for 200 aircraft from International Airlines Group (IAG), announced at the 2019 Paris Airshow, still needs confirmation.

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Richard Schuurman
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Active as journalist since 1987, starting with regional newspaper Zwolse Courant. Grand Prix reporter in 1997 at Dutch monthly Formule 1, general reporter Lelystad/Flevoland at De Stentor/Dagblad Flevoland, from 2002 until June 2021 radio/tv reporter/presentor with Omroep Flevoland.
Since mid-2016 freelance aviation journalist, since June 2021 fully dedicated to aviation. Reporter/editor AirInsight since December 2018. Contributor to Airliner World, Piloot & Vliegtuig. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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