Boeing has announced the launch of a new high-density version of the new 737 MAX series.
The US planemaker has launched the B737 MAX 200 with Ryanair, which has placed an order for 100 of the aircraft – a variant of the B737 MAX 8 that can accommodate up to 200 seats. The Ryanair deal also include options for a further 100 B737 MAX 200s, potentially boosting the value of the order to US$22 billion.
“Ryanair is proud and honoured to become the lead operator of Boeing’s ‘gamechanger’ 737 MAX 200, which will expand our fleet to 520 aircraft by 2024… while allowing us to grow traffic from 82 million last year to over 150 million annually by 2024,” said Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary.
“These new… aircraft will allow Ryanair to lower our costs and airfares, while improving our customer experience with more leg room.
“As many of Europe’s flag carriers cut capacity on short haul routes, Ryanair looks forward to using these new Boeing 737 MAX 200s to grow at many more of Europe’s primary airports,” he added.
Boeing said it developed the B737 MAX 200 “in response to the needs of the fast growing low-cost sector”, which is forecasted to account for 35% of single-aisle airline capacity by 2033.
While the B737 MAX 8 will usually be able to handle approximately 180 passengers in a single-aisle configuration, the B737 MAX 200 will provide carriers like Ryanair with more seats, boosting potential revenue.
Airbus recently raised the capacity of its A320 aircraft – the main rival to the B737 – from 180 to 189 seats. This extra capacity has been made possible by slimmer seats and a reconfigured cabin design. But the airframe of the B737 MAX is 2.2 metres longer than the A320, potentially offering more cabin space than its rival.