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RYAN meet MAX

The count is on as Ryanair received the airlines first Boeing 737 MAX 8 on Wednesday 16th of June from an initial order for 240 of the type. EI-HEN touched down on RW28L at Dublin Airport at 18:21 on the sunny evening after a long-haul 9hr flight from Boeing Field in Seattle. The ferry flight saw the new aircraft transit Canada, the vast Hudson Bay, passing over Greenland, Iceland and approaching Ireland from the north before it’s touch-down.

Two days prior to its delivery flight, EI-HEN performed two test-flight sorties from Boeing Field, Seattle to Moses Lake and return. The most obvious visual differences comparing the current 737-800 series and the new Ryanair 737-8200, as the airline prefers it to be called, hoping to brush away any connection to the infamous grounding of the MAX 8 after two fatal crashes, are the twin winglets, larger engines positioned much further forward on the wing and the addition of an extra door.


While the new CFM International LEAP-1B turbofans appear similar in appearance to the engines on a B787 Dreamliner, they are as expected much smaller, however large for a B737. The now familiar nacelle’s with chevrons or egg-shell ends make an appearance which are responsible for a 40% in noise reduction over the previous generation aircraft.


The “up-and-down” or “inward-and-outward” winglets have created a marmite effect, dividing opinion on their looks. The A|E camp preferring the former 737-800 series blended-upwards winglet as the best in winglet evolution and anything further is merely playing with it and a step too far, even if the reduction in fuel burn has been shaved yet again.


In order to accommodate an increase in passenger numbers from 189 to 197, the 737-8200 requires an additional full-size door on each side of the fuselage. Located forward of the back-door, it’s a safety design requirement for evacuating a full cabin within the allowed time, usually 90 seconds.


While EI-HEN is a brand-new plane, there are images which show it was manufactured some time ago. In fact as far back as September 2019 the aircraft was parked at Boeing Field all-be-it unpainted. Europe’s largest low-cost airline aims to accept delivery of 12 737-8200’s during summer 2021 with a further 50 expected to arrive in time for summer 2022 spread across the Ryanair Group which includes Malta Air, and Buzz.


Two days following “HENs” arrival at Dublin, the second MAX 8 for Ryanair landed just after 18:00, with registration EI-HEZ. The initial plan was to base these new fleet members at Ryanairs Stansted base in London, which wouldn’t rule out Irish based travellers from finding themselves on board one of the newbie’s.


A glance at some upcoming registrations earmarked for Ryanairs fleet, throw up some easily remembered I.D.’s such as EI-HAT, -HAV, -HAY, -HEY and -HGV, for those in the habit of keeping a notebook. Our preferred aircraft with Ryanair inscription along its fuselage remains EI-SEV, the only 737-700 series in the enormous fleet.


Image by Nick Dean

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