After a long time on the ground, the 737 MAX has been recertified and is back in commercial service in some countries. While Europe’s regulator, EASA, is yet to give the green light, it is expected to do so very soon. With the return to service impending, now might be a good time to see which European airlines have the largest 737 MAX orders.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
Ryanair – 210 aircraft
Low-cost giant Ryanair holds the title of the biggest 737 MAX customer in Europe. The airline has long shown interest in the type has customized it to seat 200 passengers for its short-haul routes (known as the 737-8200). Through various orders, including one for 75 more planes just this month, the carrier is by far the biggest European customer for the MAX.
However, Ryanair is not content with just 210 aircraft and is in talks with Boeing to purchase more planes fairly soon. A new order would likely involve the large 737 MAX 10, which could seat 230 passengers, and could be placed within the next 18 months.
IAG – 200 aircraft
European giant IAG ordered 200 737 MAX 8s and 10s in June last year, boosting the plane’s future soon after its grounding. While the timing of the order surprised many, IAG had its reasons to purchase the aircraft when it did. Signing the letter of intent highlighted the group’s frustration with long wait times for the A320neo, and it likely received a steep discount from Boeing too.
It should be noted that IAG’s order is yet to go from “letter of intent” to “order” status, but that change is almost certain. The aircraft will most likely go to subsidiaries Vueling, LEVEL, and British Airways when deliveries start in 2022 and 2023.
Turkish Airlines – 75 aircraft
Flag carrier Turkish Airlines is another large 737 MAX operator with 75 of the -8s and -9s currently on the books. The airline operated 12 planes when the type was grounded last March, Turkish reportedly received $225 million in compensation. While Turkey is yet to recertify the plane, we could expect this step in the coming months.
TUI Group – 72 aircraft
Charter operator TUI is another major 737 MAX customer in Europe, with orders for the -8 and -10 variants. The leisure airline plans to distribute the planes among its many regional subsidiaries and could use them to fly during the busy summer season next year. The group also caused some controversy when it internally referred to the 737 MAX as the 737-8.
While this year’s events have reduced demand for new aircraft, the ungrounding of the 737 MAX will be key to many airlines. The newer narrowbody will be able to take over from older planes and ensure high efficiency for airlines globally.
What do you think about the 737 MAX’s return in Europe? Would you fly the airline? Let us know in the comments below!