Ryanair, the EU’s largest budget airline, will exercise its option to purchase 75 new Boeing 737 MAX, raising its total order to 210 jets. Boeing and the Dublin-based carrier confirmed the order following a published report by Reuters.
"As soon as the COVID-19 virus recedes – and it likely will in 2021 with the rollout of multiple effective vaccines – Ryanair and our partner airports across Europe will – with these environmentally efficient aircraft – rapidly restore flights and schedules, recover lost traffic and help the nations of Europe recover their tourism industries, and get young people back to work across the cities, beaches, and ski resorts of the European Union," stated Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary .
The value of the order was not announced. While a book value for 75 737 MAX jets would be about $9 billion, the report detailed that the negotiations involved Boeing compensating Ryanair for delays in delivery of previously ordered aircraft, a result of the 20-month-long grounding of the 737 MAX.
The OEM is reported to be negotiating similar terms with Southwest Airlines, like Ryanair one of Boeing’s largest customers for the 737 MAX.
Boeing is working to resume deliveries of its best-selling aircraft following the lifting of the Federal Aviation grounding order on the 737 MAX, November 18. Brazilian authorities have since followed FAA’s decision. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has indicated it will lift its grounding order in January 2021.
Ryanair is one of the world’s largest operators of the 737-800 (the preceding design of the current model) and was the “launch customer” for the 737 MAX 8 with an order for 100 aircraft in 2014. That was followed with an order for 10 more 737 MAX 8s in 2017, and then 25 more in 2018.
None of these aircraft have yet been delivered to Ryanair.
The 737 MAX was grounded by FAA, EASA, and other regulating bodies in March 2019 after the second of two crashes that together killed 346 passengers and crew members. Boeing halted all deliveries at that time, though production of new aircraft continued.
Investigations into the two crashes resulted in Boeing redeveloping the 737 MAX Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), the flight control software cited as the cause of the two crashes. Reportedly, the previous flight-control software misidentified the jets' "angle of attack" (AOA), and prevented the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines pilots from overriding an automated descent that resulted in the two incidents.