Ryanair has unveiled its post-pandemic recovery plan for the upcoming five years.
The Dublin-based air carrier is mainly focused on its fleet and hub expansions as it expects to serve as many as 225 million passengers by 2026. The estimation is around 25 million passengers higher than the carrier’s previous target of 200 million travelers.
Ryanair expects to take deliveries of 210 Boeing 737 MAX8200 (Gamechanger) aircraft by December 2024. The airline could start flying the MAX earlier, but due to two fatal Boeing MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019, the carrier received its first Gamechanger jet only in June 2021 with a delay of two years. Currently, Ryanair expects to add 12 MAXs in 2021, six out of which will be painted in Malta Air livery, as well as 50 aircraft more before summer 2022.
This special variant of MAX is based on the 737 MAX 8200 and Boeing has developed it in response to the prior forecasts of the fast low-cost sector growth. In June 2021, the carrier took the delivery of its first Gamechanger with a delay of two years, which was related to fatal MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019.
“The performance of the B737 Gamechanger aircraft this summer has exceeded our expectations. Operational reliability, fuel consumption, and lower CO2 emissions have so far exceeded guidelines with very positive passenger and crew feedback to these new, more fuel-efficient, quieter aircraft,“ chief executive Michael O’Leary was quoted in Ryanair’s statement on September 16, 2021.
In addition, Ryanair plans to open 10 new bases across Europe by the end of 2021. According to O’Leary, the low-cost carrier has already stepped into partnerships with various European airports “to help them recover traffic and jobs post-COVID” as well as to “take up slot opportunities that are being vacated by competitor airlines” that collapsed or reduced their fleets due to pandemic.
“Ryanair has used this crisis to place significantly increased aircraft orders, to expand our airport partnerships, and to secure lower operating costs so that we can pass on even lower fares to our guests so that together with our airport partners, we can recover strongly from the Covid pandemic and deliver higher than expected growth in both traffic and jobs over the next 5 years,” O’Leary added.
Ryanair has recently opened a €50 million aviation training center near Dublin Airport (DUB), Ireland. The new training center is equipped with three full-motion simulators for Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320 pilots, as well as two fixed-base simulators for the Boeing 737 and A320 flight crew. From here alone, the airline plans to hire more than 5,000 new employees, including flight crew, cabin crew, and aircraft engineers.
In addition to the newly opened training center in Ireland, Ryanair also plans to open two more training facilities in Spain and Poland by 2026.