European budget airline Ryanair placed “a firm order” for 75 more of the jets, bringing its total order to 210 of them.
The Irish airline first ordered 100 of the aircraft with 100 options in 2014, adding firm orders for 10 more in 2017 and another 25 in 2018. The order is valued at more than $22 billion, according to Ryanair.
The companies have agreed to revised delivery dates as well as compensation for costs Ryanair incurred as a result of delivery delays as the jets were grounded for more than a year. Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary said Ryanair expects to receive the first 50 aircraft in 2021.
|THE BOEING CO.
|RYANAIR HOLDINGS PLC
Dave Calhoun, president and CEO of Boeing, said in a press release that the company “remains focused on safely returning the full 737 fleet to service and on delivering the backlog of airplanes to Ryanair and our other customers in the new year.”
The FAA just issued its first airworthiness certificate to a 737 MAX on Monday following the 2019 grounding, Fox News reported. Boeing expects to deliver about half of the jets in storage by the end of 2021.
Ryanair opted for the 737 8-200, a higher-capacity version of the 737-8 that Boeing said allows for more seats, improved fuel efficiency and better environmental performance. In a press release, Ryanair called the jet a “gamechanger.”
“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% less noise and lower CO2 emissions,” O’Leary said in a press release.
Ryanair will configure its 737 MAX jets with 197 seats. It plans to use the new jets to offer low-fare service into new European countries and markets as COVID-19 vaccines become available and it anticipates the travel industry returning “to normal.”
The airline was on track to carry more than 150 million passengers last year. It’s the largest budget airline in Europe.
Ryanair will first use the new jets to replace some of its older Boeing NG fleet, and then once the pandemic ends it will “rapidly restore flights and schedules, recover lost traffic and help the nations of Europe recover their tourism industry, and get young people back to work across the cities, beaches and ski resorts of the EU,” O’Leary said.
The companies announced the deal the same day American Airlines showed off one of its 737 MAX jets for a group of journalists on a test flight as it prepares to return the aircraft to commercial service.
The jets were grounded worldwide last year after the second of two crashes that killed a combined 346 people. The FAA spent 20 months reviewing the aircraft before clearing them to return to service with new modifications and training requirements for pilots last month.