Ryanair reveals plan for 737 MAX service entry

While announcing significant financial losses, the low-cost carrier set out its service entry schedule for the embattled jet

Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair expects to take delivery of up to 30 Boeing 737 MAX jets before next summer, with its first airframes arriving early next year.

The airline – which recorded €411m (£370m) loss for the first half of 2020 – is expected to accept the new 200 series which is a slightly modified version of the MAX 8 capable of carrying 200 passengers.

737 MAX
Two of Ryanair's yet to be delivered MAXs seen here at Renton Municipal Airport, Seattle in September 2019. Key/Thomas Haynes

In a statement to investors, the airline said it “remained committed to the Boeing 737” and that the new narrowbodies will enable it to grow to 200 million passengers per year over the next five to six years.

The carrier initially expected to take delivery of its first airframes in April 2019, but the worldwide grounding of type delayed its introduction.

The Irish airline holds an order for 135 examples which it signed with the American airframer on November 28, 2014.

The firm revealed it had received “supplier reimbursements” from Boeing in the second quarter of this year and that further compensation discussions would not be finalised

Meanwhile, Ryanair’s revenue for the first half of 2020 – when compared to the same period last year – fell by 78% to €1.18bn (£1.06bn) as traffic reduced by 80% to 17.1 million.

The group’s entire fleet was grounded from mid-March to the end of June as European government’s implemented travel bans and widespread population lockdowns in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19. As a result, Ryanair says most of its revenue for the first half of this year was earned in the second quarter.

The airline predicts that next six months will be “hugely challenging” for it and that it expects to carry approximately 38 million passengers, although this number could be reduced if “EU governments continue to mismanage air travel and impose uncoordinated travel restrictions this winter.”

The firm also expects to record higher losses in the second half of the fiscal year compared to the first.