In the wake of the MAX crisis, Ryanair seems to have switched the name of its aircraft to Boeing 737 8200.
Pictures of a Ryanair Boeing 737 MAX show that the aircraft does not sport the usual markings near its nose but instead the number 737-8200 on each side of the fuselage. They were taken at the Renton plant near Seattle, where all 737s are assembled. AeroTime reached out to Ryanair to confirm the name change but did not receive an answer at the time this article was published.
HI-Res Photos: The MAX name has been dropped from the high capacity version of the #737MAX8 that @Ryanair has on order. pic.twitter.com/3q5QBN0TTg
— Woodys Aeroimages (@AeroimagesChris) July 15, 2019
While it has not been used commercially before, the specific configuration of 200 passengers ordered by Ryanair is already referenced by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as the “737-8200” in its official documentation. The rest of the family is simply designated as 737-7 and 737-9.
Due to the global grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX since March 2019, Ryanair has not received any of its aircraft yet. The first delivery was supposed to occur in April. Five Boeing 737 MAX planes have since been assembled for the Irish carrier, and are currently waiting to be delivered once the grounding is lifted.
The change of name is most likely a way for the Irish LCC to avoid scaring potential customers that may associate the aircraft with the two recent crashes that took the lives of 346 people. When announcing the signature of a letter of intent with Boeing during the Paris Air Show, IAG used a similar strategy and referred to the aircraft as “Boeing 737-8 and 737-10”.
The measure also resembles a suggestion made by Donald Trump on April 15, 2019, who took to Twitter to offer Boeing some advice regarding the ongoing 737 MAX crisis. After improving the planes, the president suggested that the manufacturer should rebrand the now-notorious planes.