Ryanair has closed on an order for 100 Boeing 737 Max 200s, valued at $11 billion at current list prices, the parties announced Monday. The order, originally announced as a commitment in September, includes options for 100 additional 737 Max 200s and makes Ryanair the launch customer for the newest member of the 737 MAX family of airplanes. The Irish low-fare airline expects to take delivery of its first 100 Max 200s from 2019 through 2023.
Plans call for Ryanair’s airplanes to come in a single-class, 197-seat interior configuration, meaning they will hold eight more passengers than Boeing designed the standard Max 8 to carry. Boeing’s new design allows for as many as 200 seats by incorporating a mid-exit door to increase the exit limit, giving the airplane the potential to offer 20-percent better operating cost efficiency than the current 737-800NG delivers.
While meeting in New York in September with Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary quoted estimates that, apart from the fuel savings benefits the Max promises to deliver over the NG, the eight extra seats could generate $1 million per aircraft a year in additional revenue for Ryanair.
O’Leary noted that the removal of unneeded front and rear galley space and the repositioning of lavatory space to the rear of the airplane means Ryanair’s 197-seat Max 200s will allow more leg room than the airline’s current 800NGs now offer. Seat pitch, he said, will expand to slightly more than 30 inches. “Some of the toilets are moving into where the rear galley is now,” he explained.
The 737 Max 200 represents Boeing’s response to the growth of the low-fare sector, which it estimates will account for 35 percent of single-aisle airline capacity by 2033. “While the heart of the single-aisle market will remain at 160 seats, the 737 Max 200 will provide carriers like Ryanair with up to 11 more seats of potential revenue and up to 5 percent lower operating costs than the 737 Max 8, driving economic growth and increasing access to air travel,” Boeing said in a statement.