Ryanair bets on the 737 MAX. And for good reason, it’s one of Boeing’s top medium-haul aircraft customers. Therefore, he has every interest in defending it. In an interview with AFP at a meeting of the Airlines for Europe (A4E) association in Brussels, it was Michael O’Leary, the capricious leader of the Irish low-cost airline, who came to the defense of MAX, whose early career was marked by two air disasters in 2018 and 2019.
The Ryanair boss did not hesitate to show his satisfaction in front of the 737 MAX. He first praised the efficiency of his new appliances “which consume 40% less kerosene.” A welcome energy sobriety at a time when fuel prices are through the roof. Above all, he argued that the security problems caused by the catastrophic development of the device were already a thing of the past. He thus declared that “safety is no longer an issue for the MAX”.
The 737 MAX, a credible plane
Michael O’Leary thus estimates that “the MAX is regaining its credibility after two years of interruption following the accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia and has already made more than a million flights in North America and Europe.” And he judges the response from customers very positive: “We thought that some of our passengers would hesitate to fly in a Boeing MAX, but in six months none of our passengers wanted to disembark.”
However, it should be remembered that when Ryanair communicates with its customers about the 737 MAX, it heavily favors the 737-8200 “Gamechanger” name, as it still did when it arrived at Beauvais airport earlier this year. However, the latter is a MAX. Specifically, it is a high-density version of the 737 MAX 8 developed to meet the needs of Ryanair. Following the Ethiopian Airlines crash in 2019, the press had also pointed to the fact that the “MAX” mention had disappeared from Irish aircraft in favor of “8200”.
The MAX leaves its mark on the Ryanair fleet
This is not stopping Ryanair from taking delivery of MAX hard at the start of the year. Since January, it has already received 24 copies, bringing its fleet to 65 aircraft and making it one of the largest in the world. And it still has 145 planes on order with Boeing.
There were even open talks to further expand the fleet, with a potential order for 100 to 200 Boeing 737 MAX 10s, the longest version of the plane, but they stopped last summer. Michael O’Leary had then justified his decision to stop the negotiations by the price requested by Boeing, which contrasted with the deep discounts granted a few months earlier.
The Ryanair boss gave a layer on this point during his visit to Brussels: “As for buying new copies, it is not (a decision) based on passenger satisfaction, but on price. We have broken off negotiations with Boeing almost 12 months”. It does. We have enough deliveries planned over the next four years to grow to 225 million passengers a year. We don’t need to order new planes until 2026 or 2027, but I’d be surprised if our buyers and Boeing didn’t start talking again sooner then, especially given the experiences. of Boeing in the last 12 months: they have been losing customers to Airbus all the time.
As a reminder, the 737 MAX’s career was put on hold for nearly two years, following two fatal accidents in October 2018 and March 2019. The aircraft’s MCAS anti-stall system was implicated in both disasters. Banned from flying for nearly two years, it resumed operational flights in late 2020, following modifications made by Boeing under the drastic control of US and global authorities. The 737 MAX has even resumed its commercial run with several hundred aircraft on order since then.