The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved the 8-200 variant of the Boeing 737 MAX on Tuesday, paving the way for low-cost airline Ryanair to bring the aircraft into service.
The Boeing 737 MAX 8-200 is a high density variant and therefore required the installation of an extra pair of emergency doors at the rear of the fuselage.
The FAA had certified the new model last week and the expectation was that the European civil aviation authority would move in the same direction.
EASA approved the 737 MAX 8-200 with a capacity for up to 207 occupants, five crew members and 202 passengers. However, Ryanair will configure the jet with 197 seats.
The Irish airline is the model’s largest customer, with 210 firm orders, some of which have recently been ordered. Deliveries are expected to begin soon as a good number of aircraft are ready at Boeing’s US facility, pending approval.
Despite this, the entry into service of the new 737 MAX is expected to have a low initial impact as the carrier is pessimistic about the resumption of passenger air traffic in Europe. With the coronavirus pandemic hitting several countries it flies to, Ryanair announced a forecast of financial losses in 2021.
According to a report released this week, Ryanair saw a sharp drop in demand, with a monthly average of 2.28 million passengers transported in the last 12 months against 12.4 million in the previous period.