Boeing announces the first significant order for the 737 MAX after 20 months of safety ban on account of two fatal accidents. Ryanair, one of the largest low cost airlines in the world, decided to expand its original order with another 75 planes that were part of the purchase options.
Ryanair had a firm agreement for 135 units of the 737 MAX 8 (dubbed MAX 8-200) and now has a total of 210 aircraft ordered, which are configured to carry 197 passengers. It was about to receive the first planes when world aviation authorities decided to ban the jet because of suspected errors in its design.
TThe new order, however, must have been closed with huge discounts, according to industry analysts. For Boeing, the announcement will be a reinforcement of the aircraft’s safety image, which has again been released for commercial operation by the FAA and also by the Brazilian civil aviation agency (ANAC). EASA, the European regulator, plans to approve the return of the 737 MAX only in January.
“Ryanair’s board and people are confident that our customers will love these new aircraft. Passengers will enjoy the new interiors, more generous leg room, lower fuel consumption and quieter noise performance. And, most of all, our customers will love the lower fares, which these aircraft will enable Ryanair to offer starting in 2021 and for the next decade, as Ryanair leads the recovery of Europe’s aviation and tourism industries,” said Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary.
The executive has been a strong supporter of the Boeing model. In a recent interview with Forbes, the executive said that the US manufacturer has offered more competitive prices than Airbus, while recognizing the strength of the A320.
Unlike other companies, who have come to view MAX with suspicion, O’Leary considers the jet the “most audited and questioned” on the market and therefore a fabulous aircraft.
A sign of this belief is the fact that Ryanair intends to receive 30 Boeing 737 MAX only in the first half of 2021, betting on the lower cost of operation and greater range of the plane.
After FAA approval, 737 MAX customers began to move to take their aircraft out of storage. The leading airline is American Airlines, which performed familiarization flights with some planes taking employees on board this week. The US airline plans to re-launch MAX on December 29.
Other sign that Boeing’s best-selling model has passed the difficult grounding phase is that the U.S. civil aviation agency has issued the first individual certification of a new 737 MAX in the past few days.
The task, which was previously done by Boeing itself, became the responsibility of the FAA, which will individually release more than 400 jets produced and stored since March 2019.